Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Drawing history: Argus Building

Open House Melbourne ran on the weekend, an event where doors are flung open to buildings not normally accessible to the public.

There were a few buildings on my wish list but one must-see was the old Argus building on the corner of LaTrobe and Elizabeth streets. It had been derelict for a very long time but last year renovations began to turn it into a private college.

Until the 1950s this building was the site of The Argus, a now defunct daily Melbourne newspaper. My great, great grandfather worked for The Argus as a stereotyper - a job title that sounds odd to the modern ear - but apparently this printing process is where the modern meaning of the word comes from. He was at the paper before it relocated here in 1924. He went to another job when he moved to a country town but it's entirely possible that when he returned to Melbourne, he came back to work at this grand location.

Here is a sectional view of the building which shows how it looked when it operated as a newspaper. I love imagining the buzz of the building at work. The reporters tapping away at typewriters. The artists at work, creating illustrations. I can imagine that the vibrations from the machinery hall could be felt through the building when the paper was going to press. It was all under one roof. How I would love to step back in time and see the building as it was then.

But Sunday was a little bit like that. The Advertisement Hall has been restored to its former glory and you get a real sense of the grandness of the building. There was a queue to get in; an excitement about it, probably helped by a write-up which appeared in The Age that day.

Of course I had to sketch the scene. Pen with watercolour in a new Hand*Book sketchbook, which I'm dedicating solely to urban sketches.

One sketchbook for everything is just not working for me so I've recently started three new sketchbooks for various projects, in addition to the two I currently keep. Call me crazy, but I think it's going to work ;)

I've also been trying to think of a way to create a portfolio of my sketches. I've just uploaded a bunch of recent sketches to my Flickr and I'm planning to keep this updated with my sketchbook work. I haven't used Flickr much in the past but I'm sure it won't take long to get the hang of it.

Speaking of ease, I tend to use Instagram a lot these days to show work in progress and finished work. It's just so quick and easy! But I do intend to try and keep up with this blog a bit more. Promise ;)