Sketching to live music: Rhys Chatham at the Palais de Tokyo, Paris

The modern traveler’s social life:

Z is a Turkish American living in Istanbul. She’s my dad’s boss’s daughter. We were introduced via email, met up in Istanbul, and friended each other on Facebook. After we arrived in Paris, she wrote on my FB wall, with a link to Jim Haynes‘s dinner parties. After emailing Jim, we received an invitation to dinner.

–> At Jim’s I met Edith, who lives in Paris. She took my card, then emailed me an invite to her Meetup at the Musée d’Art Moderne.

–> At Edith’s Meetup I met Dov, who also lives in Paris. He took my card and emailed me about a secret concert at the Palais de Tokyo (incidentally next door to the Musée d’Art Moderne), which he had found out about via FB, from musician/composer Rhys Chatham (an American living in Paris).

And that’s how I ended up at the Palais de Tokyo last night, bopping on a squishy black leather ottoman and sketching Rhys Chatham‘s secret show.

Rhys Chatham, musicians, and audience


{mouse over images to read notes – click to enlarge via flickr}


It was a fantastic setting and great music for live sketching: tons of energy and a very cool vibe. Imagine eleven electric guitarists and a drummer going all-out, and you might get a sense of the roar in the air. It reminded me of taiko concerts, where the vibrations go right into you, and you respond not with your ears and whatever else you usually use to judge music, but with your body and your instincts.

Here’s a video from one of Chatham’s shows in Geneva in 2009.

I started out doing my usual thing of trying to draw individual figures, but after a time that wasn’t as interesting, so I started experimenting: drawing the whole group, trying to find other ways to depict people and try to get the feel of the music into my marks.


Sketches of musicians

Rhys Chatham and musicians

Two guitarists

Rhys Chatham and one of his guitarists

Musicians and their shadows

Silhouetted musicians




It was a great evening, very serendipitous, very alive.