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Drawing Inspiration

Facility Services team member, Alexander Best, shares some drawings made during the past few months. He also tells the story of how he found solace in drawing and creating art in his middle age - much to his surprise.

Alexander Best, Untitled I

Alexander Best, Untitled I, oil pastel and graphite on paper, April, 2020.

Art is the Source of My Energy

by Alexander Best, AGO Facilities Services

I am a maintenance worker at the Gallery. I was hired in the autumn of 2009 and have worked in maintenance/cleaning for Facilities Services since then. I am 59 years old.

I visited OCAD's Graduate Exhibition in May of 2017, and became inspired to start making art. I had had no interest in drawing previously.

After seeing the OCAD GradEx in May 2017 ̶ when I was 56 ̶ I right away started to make drawings. There was an Above Ground sale tent outside the school, and I grabbed the first tools I saw: a pad of 18” x 24” paper and a box of Mungyo oil pastels. At home I had no real table space so I drew while sprawled on the floor, just like any kid might do, and certainly I had done so ̶ with crayons ̶ as a little boy back in the '60s. All little kids draw, it's natural for them, I think.

Alexander Best, Untitled II

Alexander Best, Untitled II, oil pastel and graphite on paper, April, 2020.

Not having had any interest in doing visual art as an adult, it's taken me by surprise to start drawing in middle age. When I'm creating a picture, and sometimes it's done in an hour, I love being free of the verbal, written, thinking me, and to just do (most of the time my drawings are unplanned). Gradually, since those first efforts in 2017, I began to add graphite pencil to my oil pastel pictures, and my most recent drawing (finished on May 4) is only graphite. But I still love oil pastel, the richness of it, and laying it on thick. I have tried ̶ halfheartedly ̶ to do life drawing and I guess what is called representational art, but it's abstract images that want to come out of me, if I can put it that way. The source of the energy that makes me draw can be any big emotion, but more subtle, unresolved feelings such as anticipation or anxiety are the best fuel.

Here are three 18” x 24” drawings I've done since we closed seven weeks ago.

Alexander Best, Untitled III

Alexander Best, Untitled III, graphite on paper, May, 2020.


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