The Decline of White Plastic Chairs


During my MA Conceived of a project I called the ‘White Plastic Chair Project‘. It was about drawing in the kind of places and spaces that you might find white plastic chairs.

Interestingly they are rather more difficult to find these days. Most seem to have been replaced by aluminium chairs: much stronger, less mucky-looking (with time outside) and much less likely to fold over when sat on by unbalanced heavy people. I put this down to Harry Hill’s ‘Have You Been Framed?’ So many clips of white plastic chair vs human.  Fallings, skyward legs and spillages that you can comfortably blame on the entertaining combination of cheap plastic, uneven ground and large people.

Most of my observations of them have been at car boot sales. I wanted to seek a greater variety of locations, but even markets seem to gone ‘up-market’ and have improved the kind of seating they offer.

This isn’t direct observation – I’ve used home-made stamps to create the white plastic chairs and drawn the figures based on people I did observe. Its a good way to do the chairs because they are very tedious to draw. My next step should be to make many, many stamps of white plastic chairs – of all different angles and sizes (this is quite a lot of chair-stamps) and then go outside and use them when drawing from life.

It’s not really the chairs I’m interested in of course – its the people that sit in them.

I was planning for the project to be a Grayson Perry-style investigation of people and concepts of class. One of those docu-drawing (do they exist?) kind of projects that evolve as you explore… and draw (lots).

Maybe one day I will get to continue this project as part of a PhD at Cambridge.

This is a sketch drawn from life… I’ve used carbon paper.

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