Jobot ‘draws’ in artists for weekly drawing nights

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Artist David Bessent laughs out smoke while talking to Catie Cotter just before 1 a.m. Oct. 3, 2017. Bessent, one of the founders of the Monday drawing night gathering, said the tradition started around the time he started smoking. “I realized I could actually be social when I smoked. I started to work on (art) publicly,” Bessent said. He will be one of the live painters at the Lost Lake art festival Oct. 20-22, 2017. (Nicole Neri/DD)

Every Monday, artists gather around a pool of art supplies and cigarettes at Jobot Coffee & Bar to draw and socialize late into the night.

The tradition was started more than four years ago by artist David Bessent and Metropolitan Art Institute alumns CJ Melton, Thomas Schmidt, and Catie Cotter as a space to collaborate and work on art in a loose, social setting.

Artists share a pool of supplies while they draw and socialize at Jobot Coffee & Bar past 1 a.m. on Oct 3, 2017. (Nicole Neri/DD)

Melton, an artist and musician, said the gathering helped develop a sense of community that helped him with visual art.

“I wasn’t always visually focused,” Melton said. “Now I have a solid base of people doing this a lot longer than me, and I can go to them and learn from them.”

Mixed media artist Thomas Schmidt, also one of the founders of the drawing night tradition, blows smoke from his nose as he often did over the course of the night Oct. 3, 2017. (Nicole Neri/DD)

“This gives us a consistent social thing we get to do every week,” Schmidt said. “Drawing in a social atmosphere is so different than drawing alone.”

Schmidt said that doing art alone in a studio can produce “very raw” emotions and work, and drawing socially is a different mindset.

Artist Harvey Mercadoocasio works on his first piece of the night Oct. 2, 2017 at Jobot Coffee & Bar. Mercadoocasio said he has been doing art for 40 years. (Nicole Neri/DD)

Artist Harvey Mercadoocasio said when drawing in a studio, “you get into your own head, and that’s not a pretty place.”

Artist Harvey Mercadoocasio works intently on a digital drawing, scrutinizing the piece on an iPad and saying “Something’s just bothering me about it,” at a drawing night gathering Oct. 2, 2017. (Nicole Neri/DD)

The drawing night tradition gives artists a space to devote entirely to artistic work, which Schmidt said can be difficult to find as a working adult.

“Sometimes you just drop doing art, for work and other things,” said Schmidt. “I’ve done that plenty of times. This gives you time to actually do work.”

Artist Catie Cotter smokes and draws on the back of a notebook while listening to music. “I’m a big fan of socializing with my music in,” Cotter said.
Near the end of the drawing night, Thomas Schmidt shows Catie Cotter his picture he drew of her while she was drawing Oct. 3, 2017. (Nicole Neri/DD)

Cotter said while she was in high school, she used to go to Jobot’s previous location on Fifth Street for hours to work on art.

“Drawing night as a working adult was the way to continue that,” Cotter said. “We got sucked in in high school. Now (Thomas and I) are 24.”

Schmidt said artists of any skill level or medium are welcome to join the Monday drawing night tradition. The sessions usually begin at about 10 p.m.

“We educate, we don’t criticize or judge,” said Mercadoocasio.

David Bessent and Harvey Mercadoocasio clean up cups and glasses near the end of the Oct. 3, 2017 Monday drawing night. (Nicole Neri/DD)

Contact the reporter at nhneri@asu.edu.

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