A Charles Price sketch of Lady Lark, from The Current’s 13th Birthday Parties at First Avenue in January 2018. (courtesy the artist)
Usually, audience members at concerts play a passive role. Crowds gather to enjoy music and cheer the performers on. But for local artist Charles Price, that is not the case. As of recently, Price has adopted a hobby of sketching musicians from the crowd as they entertain onstage.
It all started around 2008, when Price was attending a Crooked Fingers show at the Turf Club. At the time, he was taking a life drawing class at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, where he received his degree in 2013. “I saw how there was an overlap between the ability to capture a quick gesture drawing of a figure who was standing in a position briefly for 10 to 30 seconds or so,” Price says about his initial inspiration. “I saw…how I could, with the limited light at the Turf Club, do that with pencils and pens that I had along at the show. I just started drawing and got wrapped up in it.”
In addition to Crooked Fingers, Price has sketched the shows of various other musicians, including a recent performance by Reina del Cid at the Turf Club on Dec. 8. This was one of the first instances in which he gave the physical sketches he drew to the performers after the show. This is something that he likes to do, but can’t always follow through with, depending on the show and the venue.
For instance, he has been able to talk with Eric Bachmann of Crooked Fingers a few times, having attended multiple shows and sketched the musician during several performances. Regardless of if he meets the performers or not, he has found himself sketching at a wide variety of shows-from more intimate settings to much larger venues. “I’ve been to everything from shows at the State Fair or the Xcel Energy Center to shows at the Turf Club at the Fitzgerald Theater.”
In particular, the Turf Club has stood out to Price in terms of being an environment that’s conducive for his art. “The Turf Club is kinda nice, at least for my purposes.” Price said. “It’s got reasonable ambient lighting when the performers are performing. That’s pretty useful for being able to see the paper.”
Price’s career is mostly focused on illustration for hobby games such as Kitsune: Of Foxes and Fools. Even though the performance sketches are something he does on the side, he hopes to continue to do them shows in the future. “It’s a thing that I’m enjoying,” Price said. “so I’ll probably do it more often now.”