Drink, draw and experiment in cyberspace 1

Mimi Ho-Tai, left, adds a floral arrangement and shadowy background to her pose for an experimental figure drawing event led by her sister, Lexy Ho-Tai. Right, drawing by Cody Umans.

Though “Drink n’ Draw” events combining a potpourri of alcohol and art — typically figure drawing — have become a common way to flex the creative muscle and relax, few have veered as avant garde as the series run by Queens’ Flux Factory.

The monthly digital “Drink + Draw,” which began during the start of the Covid-19 lockdowns through Flux Factory’s online programming, has blossomed into a hub for social activity and inventiveness.

“Everybody just wanted a way to connect. But they ended up being really popular. They bring people from all time zones and ages. So we just keep doing ’em. It’s not out of steam yet,” said Nat Roe, the organization’s executive director.

Lexy Ho-Tai, who has been leading the monthly activity, described it as creating a easygoing space for folks to gather and “make marks.” Every session features four models from Flux Factory’s artist community who push figure drawing modeling into the realm of the experimental, colorful and strange.

Over the past year, artists have taken the act of posing in surreal new directions. Slides from previous Zoom sessions show models in gauzy, loofah-like homemade clothing, posing in silhouettes created through a digital projector, using the green screen Zoom feature to disappear parts of their face and one shirtless man donning a Princess Peach mask from Mario.

“So one person for their set — their name’s Ariel — they just did face modeling. They were doing these like really absurd facial expressions and holding them for like five, 10 minutes. I hadn’t seen that in a figure drawing class before,” Ho-Tai said of one modeling performance that stands out as a highlight for her.

And what role does the drinking play in the art process?

“It’s not necessary,“ Ho-Tai said. “If people want it, it’ll help them relax, get comfortable in the space. It maybe varies from person to person.”

Though participants tend to be New Yorkers and residents of Queens, the event also draws people from all over the American continent — from across all parts of the country, Canada and from Mexico.

Roe said that the virtual activity has allowed Flux Factory to reconnect with international artists whom it has brought to the city through its residency programs and serves as a good way for folks who are new to the city to find a community.

He emphasized, though, that the organization puts a lot of effort into supporting local artists.

“In a lot of ways I think of us as a community space first and we do that through art,” Roe said.

The next session will be from 7 to 9:30 p.m. Aug. 24. Bring your own booze and art supplies. Those interested can RSVP at bit.ly/3AXdrH1.

Those who are interested in seeing Flux Factory art in person, can visit its open studios in residence on Governors Island from Aug. 19 to Oct. 31, while its LIC space is under renovation. The 172-acre island typically offers residence to arts organizations in the historic houses.

The Governor’s Island hours are Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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