Walking through the streets of Mexico City, you might be surprised to see a line of twenty something creative types winding down the block. Don’t be alarmed — it’s the capital’s year-old monthly Drink & Draw event. Up to 400 attendees head to the rotating venue gatherings to drink beer and draw live models.
The event will celebrate its one year anniversary on Friday with a special 13th edition eschewing its traditional live models for a five minute poster making challenge, an activity in which attendees can buy a beer for the artist who will in turn create a drawing for them, and “other little surprise that we will reveal the day of the event,” organizer Mario Rodríguez told The News.
“Drink & Draw DF began as a simple activity,” said Rodríguez. The event grew out of weekly drawing meet-ups organized by Rodríguez, who makes illustrations under the name Masprine, and illustrator and designer Mike Sandoval, in the Roma neighborhood bar Okupa.
“Illustrators like Ceci Beaven, Flavia Zorrilla, Inktrooper, Leo Moreno and Mijau came,” said Rodríguez. “We were inviting more and more people each time and it started getting bigger.”
During the event’s fourth incarnation, the team welcomed Marién Ferré, an event planner and PR pro, to help take Drink & Draw to the next level, logistically speaking.
Nowadays, the event books entire venues and fills them in a slightly improbable way for those who didn’t realize the drawing power of drawing. Live models pose throughout, lending their body to the art of attendees who scrawl determinedly on paper laid out on the tables dotted with beers and cocktails.
The formula of art community hangout plus adult beverages plus ample promotion has grown the event into an undeniably popular recurrence.
Drink & Draw is not a Mexican invention. Events exist all over the world, from Brixton, England to Brooklyn and Shanghai. In Mexico City, two recurring events share the name, fostering a fair amount of confusion. (One charges in order to pay its models and other expenses. Rodríguez, Sandoval and Ferré’s event does not, and changes venues for each new D&D DF edition.)
But something appears to have caught hold in a special way with this particular edition. Maybe it’s the give and take relationship that the collective has with its attendees.
In stark contrast to many groups in the art world, the group prides itself on being accessible, answering messages on social media as quickly as possible and taking attendee feedback seriously.
“We try to make our event as inclusive as possible,” said Rodríguez.
Just as it started as a way for a group of peers to get together and share the process of creation, ultimately Drink & Draw DF is more about fostering community among artists — community that can often make the difference for creatives who are struggling to make a living via their art.
“We also do this to demonstrate to the illustrators who are beginning that there is an entire world out there to get involved in,” said Rodríguez. “Everything is possible if you can think it up and work hard for it.”
Rodríguez said to look for bazaars, workshops, exhibitions, and overall growth from the D&D DF collective.
“We’re looking to change the paradigm of the world of illustration in Mexico and bring it in new directions,” he said.