Architecture and Design, Behind the Scenes, Gardens and Architecture, Getty Center, Prints and Drawings

Double Draw: The Oakes Brothers at the Getty

The Oakes Brothers sketch in the Central Garden at the Getty Center

Twin brothers and artists Ryan and Trevor Oakes have similar interests, which isn’t really unusual for twins. However, the brothers have taken their mutual fascination with vision, light, space, and depth to a whole new level, and have built their careers on exploring these concepts through drawing. Through December 24, the brothers are bringing their unique drawing technique to the Getty Center’s Central Garden, where they’ll be publicly working every day from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

I was able to get a sneak peak of their first official day of public drawing this Tuesday and see their special self-designed tools.

First, they spent a few days choosing an exact view of the Getty—squaring and leveling their the easel, locking their tripod into position, and adjusting tensioning cables. The end result is the following drawing station.

Drawing station used by the Oakes Brothers to sketch in the Central Garden at the Getty Center

When I asked why they’d chosen that particular location for drawing, they said they wanted to incorporate both the beauty of Robert Irwin’s Central Garden and the architecture of Richard Meier. With the last of the autumn leaves fallen from the trees, the Oakes have an excellent view of the Getty Center’s architecture through the bare branches.

The Oakes Brothers sketch in the Central Garden at the Getty Center

The brothers are already hard at work, and have completed several vertical panels. The tools they use include a concave metal easel and paper, as well as a plaster head cap to steady their vantage point. I have to say, while the plaster cap is not high fashion, it is an ingenious contraption!

The Oakes Brothers sketch in the Central Garden at the Getty Center

“We designed the tools ourselves, and our second cousin was able to weld the materials,” said Ryan. “He told us ‘anything you can draft, I can build.’”

While one brother draws, the other often interacts with visitors, discussing their techniques and answering questions. The brothers have several visual experiments that they demonstrate in order to explain their artistic process to audiences.

I’ll continue to check in with the Oakes as they slowly reveal their masterpiece over the next three weeks. Visitors are welcome to ask questions and watch the magic unfold!

The Oakes Brothers sketch in the Central Garden at the Getty Center

Tagged , , , , , , Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

One Trackback

Post a Comment

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

  • Facebook

  • Twitter

  • Tumblr

    • photo from Tumblr



      The histories of many colors are amazing, but cobalt may well have the most brilliant of them all. From the Ming Dynasty to Renaissance Italy, cobalt was a popular glaze for porcelain and other ceramics. Cobalt ink is invisible unless exposed to flame, which turns it a vivid green. In the 17th century, this quality made Europeans believe it was witchcraft, but decades later it was used as a neat trick on fire screens. It wasn’t until 1802 that painters added cobalt to their palette. 

      It is this little tidbit from cobalt’s history that saved master forger Han van Meergeren’s skin after WWII, when he was tried for collaborating with the Nazis. Want to find out how some art history sleuthing and smart science got him a not guilty verdict? Hint: Don’t try to forge a Vermeer with cobalt! 

      Read all about it in The Brilliant History of Color in Art!

      Images, clockwise:

      Glazed earthenware dish with a marchant ship, Italy, about 1510. 

      Glazed earthenware tile floor, Spain, about 1425-50.

      Porcelain lidded vase, China, about 1662-1772.

      All objects from the J. Paul Getty Museum. 


  • Flickr