Monday, September 04, 2006

The Liner

Between November 2004 and February 2005, John C Ralston sketched the entire 1925 senior class from from Hamline University in St Paul, Minnesota. All 64 sketches are online at Flickr. Each picture is accompanied by the student's details (majors and the like) from The Liner Yearbook for 1925.

John was happy to supply a bit more information when I approached him...

2 female students
"I suppose I make art about the romantic weight of the past — I spent a couple of years during and after college (Cooper Union) making pictures about the Cold War, technology, and the supposed innocence of the 1950s."

2 male students
"I'd been using yearbooks as source material for a couple of years, just drawing people out of them here and there. Back then, most of the yearbooks I could find were from the 1950s, and I was using them in work that was essentially about the Cold War. After a while, I got tired of that and decided that I'd like to draw an entire yearbook, from beginning to end — portraits, societies, the plays they put on, who "won" the Senior Prom, and so on."

"The Liner was an attempt at that, but it was also originally intended to be something I could do for an hour a night while I thought about a novel I was writing at the time. I found the Hamline yearbook in a used bookstore. The drawings sort of took over, and I didn't finish the novel."

2 female students a
"The Liner itself was never for sale. (As far as I know, there isn't a photo of the class online) I was tacking the pictures up on the wall next to my cubicle at my old job every morning as a way of attracting the attention of a girl — which worked. She asked me for a watercolor lesson and we got together soon after that. The Liner was an integral part of the development of our relationship, and I gave the whole thing to her for Christmas last year."

"I gave the junior class a half-hearted shot, but found that I was tired of the routine, so only this drawing happened."

"Right now I'm interested in World War I. I'm about to begin a project that's about ten times as ambitious as the Hamline project. I also write (as yet unpublished) Young Adult novels that are intended to make children into disobedient freethinkers."

2 male students a
And a few more tidbits..

- John has had a positive response from a descendent of one of the Hamline Project students who heard about the sketches.
- Transition of a sketch.
- For the last couple of months John has been sketching portraits for the cover of a Metafilter compilation cd (no images online as far as I know yet). In his spare time he composes music.
- The Class of 1925 plotted to move a massive boulder, known as 'Proposal Rock', onto the campus from a nearby park. They failed.

[via a Metafilter post from early 2005]


misteraitch said...

This is very cool to know, as I’m in the same MeFi-CD-Swap group as John, so I get to look forward to some of his art arriving in the mail…

harlequinpan said...

Your blog is the best one that i have ever seen,64 drawings are great work.i visited "the Liner"
through flickr for more detail,it's
really a talent work.
Thanks for sharing these.

gl. said...

i love this project! thank you for talking to him!

gl. from scarlet star studios

cortex said...

A bit after-the-fact, but said CD is now good to go, and John has done a hell of a job on the art. Images (and an order page *coughcough*) are available at the album's website,

Unknown said...
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