Two minutes with @art_and_oddities

Michael Pope is bringing the Urban Sketching movement to Townsville - showcasing our world through drawings. IMAGE: Michael Pope

When we stumbled across Michael Pope’s (aka @art_and_oddities) incredible Instagram profile, we were instantly hooked. Like many local Instagram accounts, Michael’s is peppered with images of the Strand, Flinders Street, Horseshoe Bay and Paluma, but what sets the account apart is that all of Michael’s images are hand drawn and water-painted in 60 minutes or less.

Tell me a little about yourself.
I’m a teacher-slash-gallery worker, working and living in Townsville. The sketches I do, I keep a travel diary, which I’ve done for about 6 months and I basically do one sketch every day or two – I tend to do too much, especially on holidays, so this is a way to slow down. When I’m on holidays, sometimes I’ll try to do five or six a day.

I trained early on with a Bachelor of Arts and worked in museums and galleries for about 17 years, then made the switch to teaching last year. Now that I’m not burning up my creative energy on other people’s work, I really enjoy getting to practice my art for myself.

What exactly is urban sketching?
Urban Sketchers is an international group that started in the States, I believe. There’s some really great groups in Indonesia and one up in Cairns also. Together with Jonathan McBurnie who’s the Director at Umbrella Studio and Gerald Soworka, another artist, I’ve just implemented a local group. We’re not officially incorporated yet, but hopefully very soon. If anyone out there is interested in coming along – not to a class per se – but just coming along to draw the landscapes and buildings of Townsville they can. I’m pushing to do one every fortnight and it’s free to join in. We’ll probably go to the dinosaur exhibit first and then maybe a live band through the Folk club.

Michael’s Instagram account (@art_and_oddities) showcases his travels through his sketches. IMAGE: Michael Pope

How long would you typically spend on a sketch?
I work pretty fast. I just use an ink pen and sketch out what I want to draw, which is pretty quick, then I have a little watercolour set that’s about the size of a mobile phone, I and fold up and put in my pocket. If it’s not too hot, I’ll paint the sketch while I’m there and all up it usually takes less than an hour.

Where are we most likely to find you sketching on your days off?
I like the Strand. I’m not all that into islands and beaches, but there’s some nice coffee spots along there, so I’ll often pull up a chair at Juliette’s. There are also some lovely views of the city around, particularly from bridges looking back down Flinders Street East.

What do you hope to achieve from your art?
Absolutely nothing. I enjoy keeping a travel diary. I would like to get more text in, it’s all images at the moment, but that’s about it.

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