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Snapshot: The Urban Sketchers of Kunming

By in Features on

Urban Sketchers is a worldwide collective of people who, as the name implies, like to sketch their urban environment. They head into town with their sketchbook, markers, paints and easels, sit down, observe their surroundings and create.

In Kunming, it is the Canadian Roz Weitzman who — together with her friend Ong Beng Choo (王明珠) — took the initiative to gather like-minded artists and founded the local chapter of Urban Sketchers.

Roz has lived in Kunming since 2011, and started drawing in 2016. A couple of years later she joined the Seven Colours watercolour studio (绘馆艺术), which resulted in a solo exhibition in the Beichen Fortune Center rotunda in 2018.

Roz has previously expressed her creativity in two cookbooks she has published, one with Beijing cuisine and one with Yunnan recipes. Since 2016 she spends her time on painting and sketching, and is currently studying silk painting.

Ong Beng Choo is a Singaporean artist who lives in Kunming.

She is one of the Urban Sketchers who often includes writing in her drawings, creating a visual diary.

The Urban Sketchers manifesto says: "show the world, one drawing at a time".

The drawings tell the story of our surroundings, the places we live and where we travel.

A record of time and place.

The Urban Sketchers use any kind of media and cherish their individual styles.

They support each other and draw together.

Every Friday morning the Urban Sketchers meet at a different picturesque spot and start drawing. The group totals 28 artists, from beginner to advanced. Usually, six to eight people come to the Friday morning meet-up. This Friday they will meet at Yuantong temple.

Urban sketchers is a worldwide non-profit organization. The city chapters share work online, but can also meet in person and attend workshops at international symposia. The next one is April 8th to 11th in Hongkong, and Roz will attend.

The Kunming Urban Sketchers group is as yet a small but very diverse creative collective. Chinese, Filipino, Canadian, American, Korean and more different nationalities have joined, and members vary from absolute beginner to accomplished artist.

Everyone is welcome to join: please scan the below QR code if you'd like to find out more, or join the Kunming Urban Sketchers on their explorations of the city.

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