A few years ago I grew a beard on a whim. My partner did not like it one little bit. Over a holiday break with my brother's family, my Nephew and Nieces voted, 2 to 1 in favour, of me shaving it off. In December 2010 I agreed to join my (male) 3rd year students in a sponsored beard growing frenzy to raise money for their degree show. We each drew a style of beard out of a hat. Mine was somewhat vaguely titled "The Artist". Blindly I carried on, stumbling over who to grow the beard in the style of; Cezanne (Bushy, but impressive), da Vinci, Titian, Manet, Monet (ditto), Van Gough (too orange), Toulouse Lautrec (Close to being the one), Brian from Spaced (too comedy), Baldessari (If only) and so on. Meanwhile each day I have actually looked more and more like Mr Twit from Roald Dahl's childhood favourite book and each day I have become more undecided as to what artist I should be.
My students have finished with their beards and have collected their sponsorship money. Then on Monday, whilst taking a first year drawing class I run, it hit me, rather than me growing my beard in the style of a famous artist, I would grow the beard as an artist and get my students to draw me with the beard. So using the old nugget of the pencil on the end of a long stick I asked them to draw me in 10 minutes, here are the results, akin perhaps to Roman Ondák's self portraits. I then asked them to do more normal activities of my drawing classes like tying pens to trees and so on.
I have also asked my partner to draw me and to sponsor my beard/beard shaving off before I will get rid of it. She has done the drawing (spot hers below). However, before she pays up I shall ask one person a day to draw me with a beard. I imagine this will not last for long, she hates it more this time than before.
An aside or a thought, I wonder if my first year students will remember that I grew a Sponsored beard to raise money for the current graduating students degree show and will I be asked in a couple of years time again? Will the biennial beard continue?