Damn Drawing

During my education, I have been very fortunate to have had excellent tutors who at times offered me the opportunity and encouragement to experiment and think left-field.

Art college can be a brilliant environment to test, learn and develop. Personally, drawing was NEVER my strength, whether it was life drawing, technical or illustrative. 

But, I drew and drew and drew. Mark-making was the answer for me, alongside a good dose of photography. This was my way of communicating 2 dimensionally. And honestly, if I ever need to draw, I still love the back of an envelope the most.

I cannot remember where I fell head over heels for the photocopier –  so fast, efficient, yet so underrated and under-utilised. It is often tucked away in the corner of the library or office, whirring away as it pumps out its A4 sized copy, after copy, after copy. Close to analogue with its manual paper feeder. 

So perfect for scanning 3-D objects and transforming them into 2-D representations; fold, move, blur. It’s even possible to work on the copy itself, then recopy it. Only a photocopier can add that shadowy matt inky finish. The trusty Xerox photocopier is indeed a classic Clarke piece of kit, a tool explored and valued as a substitute for that dreaded bright white intimidating sketchbook. 

I think it’s time for a new photocopy project! 

Watch this space…


  1. Mark Fenn says:

    Hi David,
    I too have a struggle with drawing and get little frustrated with my efforts to get my design ideas from my head on to paper….its even worse when i have a client with me and I’m trying to show them my ideas!! what is your default method when presenting to clients or for that matter your students. I’d would love to see your working drawings etc for your wonderful blown spoons.

    1. David Clarke says:

      Mr Fenn, for all of us i think it’s about finding tools and formatts that work best to communicate our individual ideas. There is not one way, if we turn ‘drawing’ into ‘mark making’ that seems to open up the world of 2-D expression and creativity. So ok, a pencil, pen, ink, paint, Xerox. Literally everything’s up for grabs to adapt so we can communicate your way.

  2. Claudia Westhaus says:

    Kurt Schwitters would have loved a Xerox and as well as your de Nase sense of humour. Hmmm, the auto corrector made a nice variation of the term „uncanny“- de Nase- off the nose… honi soit qui mal i pense.😏

    1. David Clarke says:

      What a fantastic thought; Schwitters and a Xerox. Utterly brilliant.

  3. B says:

    Remember these so well, David! I have always been curious how you looked upon these photocopies/sketches … Tools for understanding, playing and thinking – part of the artistic process – but to me they may well take pride of place right next to your Blows Spoons, cast pieces, and more. Looking forward to more Xerox projects to come!!

    1. David Clarke says:

      Bea you said it!! but you invite me to look at them more and more. I so remember you and Nick showing them in Munich and i thought you were crazy. That’s why external perspectives, feedback and any critique is so freakin healthy. I thank you for shining a bright light on these works.

  4. Nicholas de Godoy Lopes says:

    I love your use of photo-copying because I feel I can really see its impact in your work. It’s even better because to me it’s such an “old-school” technology and so contingent on a certain understanding of how technology should work in our life. It’s neither timeless like drawing or brand new like so many digital tools. Reminds me of the creative opportunities game designers still find in 8-bit and 16-bit graphics.

    1. David Clarke says:

      I love a bit of 8-bit graphics, theres enough information in the image to get it. Not slick or polished but enough to get a true sense of form and character. Me likes your thinking Mr NdGL. Many thanks.

  5. Atty Tantivit says:

    Would love to see an exhibition with all the photocopies in frames along side the finished pieces! Let me know if you look for a space to exhibit! 😉

    1. David Clarke says:

      Atty that’s a wonderful idea. Let me have a think about what we could do. It would need to be developed as i wouldn’t want to go backwards but really push the idea. I’m continuously excited by copies and fakes, good ones, ones that are potentially better than the original.Let’s talk.

  6. Paula Castro says:

    Fantastic! Simple and very efective! Such a great new world of possibilities!

    1. David Clarke says:

      Thanks to you Paula. At times i think we really over labour things, to a point where we almost kill the idea. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with simple efficient and effective. Put in the energy where it counts…… are we looking too hard or even trying to be way too clever?….Absolutely, AND I include myself in this.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *