This was a first today for me at the Bloor Gladstone Library.
As many of you know, the Bloor Gladstone Library is a regular haunt for me to sketch at, particularly the users of the library. Today, as I have done many times in the past, I went after work to sketch library people. Midway through drawing a lady (see below), a librarian came up to me and asked me to stop drawing her because it was an invasion of her privacy. She also mentioned that library policy prohibits taking pictures of people… architecture is good. People, not good. Technically, I wasn’t photographing anyone.
I understand the librarian’s issue with it, but 99% of the time I’m drawing people who are so engrossed with reading, fiddling on their mobile devices or sleeping, that they don’t realize that they are being sketched. Whenever I was “caught”, I’d show them what I did. For the most part they were flattered that I had drawn them. I’ve posted past drawing sessions from the library (all people) on my twitter feed and “likes” have come from the Bloor Gladstone Library account multiple times. If this was an issue, perhaps raising it then would have been the time to do it. I know the account is probably controlled by some tech guy somewhere else, but it gives me mixed messages.
As an artist, this is how I interact with the world. I’m drawn to people and sketching them is my record of that time. Some people write in their journals or keep small momentos from a special moment. This is my way to remember. In the entire eight years I have been sketching in public, this is second time I’ve been asked to stop sketching a person. When asked, I have stopped and apologized. That’s all I could do. I won’t stop drawing people in public, but I guess the Bloor Gladstone Library will only be a place where I borrow books from.