Original art at Cornerhouse. Sketch-O-Matic returns!

Matthew Hull

Fancy owning a work of original art but don’t fancy the, er, fancy price tag? Sketch-O-Matic is for you, says Matthew Hull

Original art at Cornerhouse via Sketch-O-Matic 2012

Visitors to the Cornerhouse café this month may notice an errant photo booth sat opposite them. Rather than churning out passport photos, though, the booth – better known as the Sketch-O-Matic, will instead play host to a series of micro-residencies from artists waiting to take the portraits of volunteers. Those who choose to sit behind the curtain, and pay the nominal fee of one pound, might see their likeness drawn by acclaimed local illustrator Hammo, transformed into a chopped and screwed photofit by artist-curator Mike Chavez-Dawson or rendered in verse by political poet Steph Pike.

“The idea came about as a reaction to some pretty naïve ideas going around the news media about sourcing arts funding from wealthy private investors,” says Bren O’Callaghan, Programme Manager for Visual Arts at Cornerhouse. “I wanted something that wasn’t at all elitist but I also wanted there to be an exchange of coin for work. The whole thing is an opportunity to not only be the benefactor but also the muse.”

The last incarnation of Sketch-O-Matic in 2011 was host to almost 1,000 portrait sittings, with long queues and a lengthy wait for a bespoke piece of personalised art. There promises to be even more of a buzz for the triumphant return this week. “The only thing I insist on is that there are no caricatures,” says Bren. “It’s all about people being given something incredible created just for them; not a picture of them with floppy ears or a big nose.”

Sketch-O-Matic, Cornerhouse, 12 October-21 October 2012, £1 donation. Part of the Manchester Weekender. Like original art? Read our review of the Buy Art Fair. Love Cornerhouse? Don’t miss the new David Shrigley exhibition here – and read our interview with the man himself. Keep posted of all that’s happening – join our mailing list.

The Manchester Weekender 2012 image by Creative Tourist

Image: courtesy Cornerhouse.


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