Back To The Drawing Board

Posted in Drawing by robbiekarmel on March 14, 2016

It’s been about a year since I last posted here, apologies for the extended hiatus! I have recently started my PhD research, which focuses on concepts of tool use and the expanded body, particularly in relation to drawing and making.  There will definitely be more frequent posts for the foreseeable future.

In extending my drawing practice to include three-dimensional objects I have begun to experiment with carving. Below is one of my first forays into the media, as I am doing everything by hand it is a time consuming process, stay tuned for updated progress shots.



^the work is embedded in my drawing practice, rather than working from planned drawings I started by drawing blind proprioceptive self portraits on the blank torso and will continue to mark out the work utilising similar experimental drawing methods.




I am also continuing my on going enquiries into observational and representational drawing. The busts that I have been producing provide ambiguous forms to hang drawings on.









I have also been maintaining ongoing life drawing sessions to maintain, expand, and experiment with my technical skills.









Posted in Uncategorized by robbiekarmel on April 13, 2015

tables 1

I’ve spent the last few weeks concentrating on making a few simple pieces of furniture and working on building workbenches. I will be hold a business launch event on the 16th of May, details for the event are here:

hall table 1

hall table

hall table 2

tables 2

side table 1

side table

benches 1

benches on benches: much workbench with two other benches in production— a chairmakers workbench on top of my bench and a shavehorse in the background.

bench 2

You Are Here 2015: Sculptural Experiments

Posted in Uncategorized by robbiekarmel on March 30, 2015

Last weekend I was in Canberra for the You Are Here festival, I presented work at the third overnight event at Canberra Museum and Gallery. This year I did an initial proof of concept of something I’ve wanted to do for a while: extending participatory art making into sculptural work.

The process was built on the participatory drawing exercises: I massages and prodded participants faces and heads as they manipulated the clay bust in direct response to my input.

Hopefully I’ll have an opportunity to present this work in a more complete and sustained context soon, I’d love to do a developing series and display them as completed works.

A big thankyou to the seven people who participated in the project:

Shane Parsons

Reuben Ingall

Anna Reeder

Yasmin Masri

Morgan Little


Luke Jaaniste

image 8

Working with Shane Parsons, image credit: Adam Thomas

image 1

The bust as it was before work started.

and the completed sculpture:

image 4 image 5 image 7

The Drawing of Bodies and Things — Exhibition

Posted in Drawing, Exhibitions, Participatory Drawing, woodwork by robbiekarmel on November 3, 2014

The Drawing of Bodies and Things opened last week, the show went really well, I’ve presented several talks to visitors and undergraduate groups and everyone has been very receptive and engaged in great conversations about drawing.

Several people joined me in performative participatory drawings on the opening night, a big thanks to Kyla Cassells, Richard Carroll, and Eliza Vince.

A big thanks to everyone who came to the opening and who has visited the show, the exhibition will be up until the 8th of November, Wednesday til Saturday at Kudos Gallery, Paddington.




















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The Drawing of Bodies and Things: Exhibition Thesis

Posted in Uncategorized by robbiekarmel on October 19, 2014

I’ve turned my exhibition thesis and a lot of the documentation from my masters project into a book! The Exhibition Thesis/Catalog will be available at my upcoming exhibition, I also plan to set up online sales for it soon, along with a free/by donation download of a PDF.

I really hope that people will read this along with looking at my work and get something out of it, I certainly think it will deepen people’s understanding of the drawings and my processes. 1




This is Not Art 2014 (and some serious woodworking)

Posted in Drawing, Exhibitions, woodwork by robbiekarmel on October 7, 2014


I have just got back from presenting my work at the Crack Theatre Festival as a part of This is Not Art Festival in Newcastle. I spent 3 days in a space drawing, both solo and doing participatory drawing exercises with people, which was fantastic.

The Crack Theatre festival were fantastic hosts, and put on a fantastic festival.  The festival facilitated some great cross-disciplinary discussion and exposure, which for a visual artist (or conceptual art maker) with a largely solo and solitary practice can be a bit lacking normally.

It was a great space and an awesome opportunity and I’m hoping to head back next year to do something new and exciting that progresses on from these experiments and hopefully pushes the collaborative participatory experience further.


^(My catalog arrived and it’s great! I’ll do a whole post on this soon! and look into setting up an online shop and maybe a PDF download)


^This is the chair I made to facilitate drawing exercises that involve drawing on the back of or behind a mirror.


^Finn O’Branagdin demonstrating how to use the chair, for the participatory drawings I trace on the persons face and ask them to make marks in direct response to the tactile and visual sensations.

finn    18andrewstyan

^Andrew Styan

17deepash 16cloe 15 hannah 15 alex litherland 14shane 13 ane

^Jane Walter

12frank 10 9 6yen2120

These last two drawings were done as solo exercises, I lay down next to the piece of paper with my eyes shut and attempt to map out a schema of my body relying on my proprioceptive awareness. I am particularly interested in our embodied ability to internally visualize what our bodies may look like from an external viewpoint.

this is a process that is heavily influenced by my knowledge of drawing, established methods I have of representation, and my expectations or internally simulated expectations of what the marks I am making will look like.

On a less theoretical note— I’ve recently become incredibly excited about wood working with hand tools. Woodworking and my drawing/fine art practice merged for the first time in the drawing chair I made:


(these little guys were really into my chair) ^

As well as the chair I’ve been going through a series projects of varying difficulty in order to develop hand working skills, I put together this workbench with my housemate Shane Wiechnik.


tblr 3

^I also made this Burr Puzzle for my cousin August’s 5th birthday present (he didn’t quite appreciate it but I hope he grows into it)


^This was my bedroom as I was frantically trying to get the chair done in time for TINA (which was a bit of mistake, I now know that woodworking is a thing you shouldn’t ever rush). You can also see my tool there tote mid-process:


Funding a Catalog

Posted in Exhibitions by robbiekarmel on July 23, 2014

I’ve just launched a Pozible project page to get some funding together for a catalog of my thesis to accompany my upcoming exhibition at Kudos Gallery in Sydney in October! You can pre-order a copy of the catalog or donate a bit more and receive a drawing as well, or one of my coveted wooden spoons!


Write Up

Posted in Participatory Drawing by robbiekarmel on June 27, 2014


Collapse Collective has just posted a super nice write up about my mini-residency at NA studios a little while back. thanks again to everyone involved!

Read it here:



Participatory Drawing in Melbourne

Posted in Drawing, Participatory Drawing by robbiekarmel on May 7, 2014

Over the weekend I travelled down to Melbourne to present my work at N/A Studios. I did a series of participatory drawing exercises with people, presenting some methods I’d used previously as well as experimenting with some new configurations.

I’ll be presenting the project again in Canberra in a few weeks, in Newcastle early October, and at my graduate exhibition in Sydney late October.

Thanks to everyone who came along and had a go! and a massive thanks to Sarah Kaur, George Rose, and NA Studios for inviting me down and hosting me, it was a fantastic weekend!

(sorry about the quality of the photos of the drawing, didn’t have ideal lighting conditions…)

jess and kat

Drawing with Jess Kelly and Kat Clark

jess and kat2

Drawing with Jess Kelly and Kat Clark




I’m afraid I can’t remember who these last two photos are of! if anyone can help me out that would be great! will have to keep better notes in the future…




Drawing with Sarah Salazar 

chris ryan



Drawing with Sarah Katherine Firth and Marta Callizo





Drawing with Kylie Bollen


Drawing with Ness Roque


Drawing with Sarah Salizar


Self Portrait with Sarah Kaur



Raus — Miles

Posted in Video by robbiekarmel on April 15, 2014

I don’t normally post this kind of thing here, but I made this video clip for my friend Raus’ new single Miles and I’m really happy with it.

It was made using 123D Catch to 3D scan Rory and his gear, and then put together in Maya.

[vimeo w=640&h=400]



Written/Produced by Rory Stenning.
Mixed by Reuben Ingall.
Directed and edited by Robbie Karmel.

Download here: