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Arts & Culture

Thomas Thorspecken finds beauty in the mundane

Urban sketcher known locally as Thor adds a book and a gallery show to his achievements

Photo: <a href="http://goo.gl/J9NfU7">Click here to see sketches of Orlando by Thomas Thorspecken</a>, License: N/A

Click here to see sketches of Orlando by Thomas Thorspecken



Now, a decade after his exit from Disney, Thorspecken’s City Beautiful-inspired sketches have burst beyond the confines of his blog and are appearing in print and in galleries – not just the online kind. The former comes in the form of Urban Sketching: The Complete Guide to Techniques, the newly published book Thorspecken wrote and illustrated (with the aid of fellow sketchers) as a how-to manual for budding artists. He hadn’t previously considered writing a book, but a publisher contacted him “out of the blue.” He says, “I thought it was spam when I first saw it, but sure enough they were legitimate.”

“It worked out really well. I just kept writing every day and they accepted everything I did,” Thorspecken says. “There was no stress involved whatsoever.”

You can help celebrate the painless birth of this publication at Snap Space, the photo-centric gallery now occupying Colonial Drive’s historic Cameo Theatre, which is flexing its focus to honor Thor’s past five years of urban sketching. On Friday, March 21, Snap Space hosts the opening of A Certain Point of View, a retrospective featuring both original artwork torn from Thorspecken’s spiral-bound notebooks and oversized prints blown up to poster proportions. Each of the 30-plus images, hand-selected with Snap founder Patrick Kahn, will be labeled with a QR code linking back to the original blog post, letting the observer interact and complete the analog-to-digital circle. (The show hangs at Snap through April 11; on March 29, Thorspecken gives an artist talk and signs copies of Urban Sketching.)

When narrowing down the multitude of events he could sketch on any given day, Thorspecken looks “for crowds; people who are doing something creative; something inspiring in some way or uplifting. People’s stories are what intrigue me; the production itself isn’t as interesting to me as what people go through trying to get it made.” Dance company rehearsals, in particular, are “a definite obsession”: “I love the look of the dancers stretching, warming up … just standing at the barre.” One final hint for Orlando arts producers hoping Thorspecken will immortalize their creations: Don’t clean up for company before he comes. “I’m intrigued by everything. I can find something in any mundane situation,” he says. “The more mundane and everyday the situation is, the more it intrigues me. The clutter of creation: Most people don’t think anyone would want to see that, but I do.”

23 beautiful sketches of Orlando by Thomas Thorspecken

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