A.A. Birch Court Complex, November 13-30, 2017
The first image that popped into my mind when thinking about drawing in public was the courtroom sketch artist. How does anybody get that job? When I first dreamed of making art in public this year, drawing in court was one of the first and most obvious thoughts. Outside of speeding tickets I have almost no experience with the justice system, and I suspect that’s probably a function of money and race. My ignorance made the A.A. Birch complex a compelling subject. During my visits I was humbled by the solemnity of the proceedings, the palpable hazard of each outcome and professionalism of the public servants I witnessed. My goal was to use my drawing as a witness to capture a fraction of the nervous air in those proceedings.
11/15 Sketchbook notes
Ill fitting clothes. Nervousness. Slow line through security.
The guard tells me that they’ll be redoing the lobby soon so I should draw that before it is gone. Everything but the security checkpoint because you can’t draw that. No photos.
This is the A. A. Birch Building in downtown Nashville, Tennessee. It houses 16 courtrooms.
Upstairs in the long windowed hall outside court waiting. Looking at Titans Stadium under streaming morning light and river fog. What is the weight of gaze? The whole thing look different from here. It’s freezing outside. There’s a new building growing across the street, a mountain of concrete and crane.
I’m in the back rows of Courtroom C on the 6th floor. It’s Wednesday November 15 and Honorable Cheryl Blackburn is presiding over an order of protection petition. This is Section III Criminal Court. Doors are opening and closing. I need to do a better job of drawing outfits. I need to do a better job of capturing posture. Nothing moves and then everyone moves. I need to sit closer.