Impressions from January Photo Transfer Workshop

In early frigid January right after the new year, I conducted the Photo Transfer Workshop: Image and Memory at the Berlin Drawing Room with eight eager students. This was my first time teaching at the Berlin Drawing Room and first time teaching adults! Each person who attended the workshop came from varying countries but resided in Berlin as well as each had varying different backgrounds and decided to take the class to learn new techniques with photography. One student was gifted the workshop from a friend for the holidays - a great idea for anyone interested in taking a class! We began the workshop learning about the history of photography and looking at contemporary artists who use photo transfers in their work as well as artists whose work focuses on the idea of memory. Photo transfers are unique in the fact that they can leave partial images or residues and they inherently feel timeless, so it was beneficial to focus on the theme of memory and discuss how we could incorporate it into the work.
Throughout the course we learned three different transfer techniques - solvent transfer, acrylic medium and tape transfers. All three have try different qualities and produce unique results. We began with the solvent transfers. After using many varying solvents in my own work, I found a great solution which creates beautiful images - Citristip - a safe and friendly paint stripper product found very cheaply in the USA. Unfortunately Citristip is very expensive on in Germany so I managed to smuggle the solvent in several shampoo bottles from when I was home over the holidays. I supplied the students with images on the first class to give them a feel for the process and it was clear that everyone loved the way images transferred this way, just not the price! I of course wanted to make sure that the materials we used were accessible for everyone, except that Citrisrip went up in price in the EU. I have never seen so many people band together to find a way to get their hands on a solution! Many students researched ways to get the solvent or find alternatives in Germany because they loved it so much! One student ordered it from the USA and low and behold it did arrive a few weeks later! Problem solved!
Our second class was devoted to Acrylic Gel Medium Transfer, probably the most popular technique when it comes to photo transfer. That is because it can be used with inkjet, color and black and white images, whereas Citristip can only be used with black and white laser prints. Gel medium transfers allow you transfer onto several different surfaces including glass, metal, plastic and ceramic, by putting the image face down and rubbing off the back of the image, leaving all areas that are white to be transparent.The only downside is that it takes a while to remove the paper from the back of the transfer. Some students loved this process, others realised it took too long for them to create a successful image.
For our field trip we had a unique experience meeting with the curator and artists showing at DISPLAY in Schöneberg. The exhibition featured collaborative sculptural work by Marie Jeschke and Anja Langer. We spoke to curator Marie dePasquier about the development of the show Enrico - Autoaction in Rehearsals, later the artist joined our lively discussion about collaboration, chance and intuition when it comes to art making. It was a great experience to have all different perspectives and to learn more about the artist’s work.
We returned to the studio the following week to learn one more technique - tape tranfers, created with packing tape using a similar method as the gel medium transfers. It was a nice addition to our repertoire of techniques but it was clear everyone loved to experiment with what they had learned and wanted to work! The studio was alive with creation and each student was exploring and making new beautiful work. We finished our last class with a group critique and reflected on our work as well as our experience Many artists incorporated themes and ideas of memory into their work and I was very fortunate to have such an explorative, eager group of students for this workshop! I hope to continue to teach this workshop as well as many others in the future!
-Keegan Luttrell

Interview with instructor and artist Patrick J. Reed

Meet the new member of our team:

Patrick and his work

Yesterday I had the chance to meet the artist and writer Patrick J. Reed. We sat at the Prachtwerk Cafe and took the time to chat about a bunch of topics, ranging from his political ideas and points of view to his studio and academical practices, and his plans for the upcoming drawing and painting workshops at the Berlin Drawing Room, where he just became part of the team.

Here’s a glimpse of some of the things we talked about:   

Although your body of work is completely multifaceted, it has a clear focus on cultural responses to ecological crises. What triggered you to fight the environmental fight, and how did you begin working on those topics?
I’ve always had an interest in this sort of cultural phenomena that is the apocalypse narrative – I find it fascinating. But the danger in being interested in that kind of narrative is that it can be very easily romanticized. It’s a horrible thing that can be made beautiful and is therefore not taken seriously. So as a remedy to that I shifted my focus to something that was more scientific, more tangible. This occurred when I was at the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society in Munich, surrounded by environmental historians, eco-critics, scientists, and lawyers who exposed me to all this other information that was tightly linked to the themes I was working with, but approached from very different perspectives. That created a more well- rounded vision of what it means for the world to be in ecological crisis, and how cultures and societies rely on science, law, and technology to essentially cope with this crisis.
from: Distant hammers, graphite, coloured pencil, oil paint, collage on handmade paper, 2015-2016, approximately 40 x 27.5 inches

You’re also part of the editorial branch for the critical online publication Serpentine Magazine; tell us a bit more about that project. 

Serpentine Magazine was started by four graduates from the Visual and Critical Studies program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and I became involved early on when they had a change in their editorial team. It is essentially a venue for critical and creative writing presented in many possible formats. Being an online magazine gives us the ability to work in a variety of media: there can be experimental poetic and image based works, video… we also did a sound issue, at one point.

I enjoy having a chance to work with such a variety of writers, artists, and musicians to explore a certain topic; it gives me the opportunity to look at a certain thing from plenty of different angles.

from: Distant hammers, graphite, coloured pencil, oil paint, collage on handmade paper, 2015-2016, approximately 40 x 27.5 inches

What is it you’re looking forward to the most in teaching the drawing and painting workshops at the BDR?

I’m really looking forward to getting started, and I’m excited to be part of the team. I really love teaching drawing and painting, so what I want to do as a new instructor is to uphold all of the ideas of my work and everything that Mira has put into it, work in my ways within the general approach of the Berlin Drawing Room; teaching the skills whilst supplementing that with a couple of things that might be an interesting perspective or point of view (in drawing, for instance, explaining how to handle foreshortening, or deal with proportions, etc.).

Tell us a bit about the structure and plan for the courses

So for now there’s the Drawing Workshop and the Painting Workshop coming up, and I am hoping for the summer to teach a workshop that is actually focused on artist books, so that would concentrate on bookbinding and some content generating.

The idea is that through these workshops people get not only a grasp of a solid skill set, but also a general notion on what painting is, what drawing is, what their roles have been historically and why they are still important today.

It’d be great if someone were to take both painting and drawing courses, because that way they’d really get a thorough survey on how they build into each other. Even if that’s not the case, the workshops will remain a comfortable starting point for everyone.

from: Distant hammers, graphite, coloured pencil, oil paint, collage on handmade paper, 2015-2016, approximately 40 x 27.5 inches

Patrick is an artist and freelance writer originally from Iowa City, Iowa. His work explores the aesthetics of disaster, with a emphasis on cultural responses to ecological crises. In 2014, he joined the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society as a Fulbright Scholar and inaugural artist-in-residence. He continued with the Center the following year with a DAAD award for fine art. He is trained in art history, photojournalism, printmaking, and papermaking and has worked extensively in the fields of intermedia and experimental research. His current projects include an investigation of agricultural scarcity and the spectrality of food in early Modern German woodcuts and a translation of the Book of Job into the International Code of Signals. He lives and works in Berlin, where he is the European editorial branch for the critical/ cultural online publication, Serpentine Magazine.

Interview by Cora Marin, intern in the Berlin Drawing Room


making Photo Transfers

We are very excited to offer a new workshop within the Mixed media category at the Berlin Drawing Room. Click on the link below for a complete workshop description. Registration is now open for the upcoming January 5 - 26, 2017 workshop. Sign up now to reserve your place!

Photo Transfer: Image and Memory

Artist Keegan Luttrell will teach several Photo Transfer techniques that relate to her own artistic practice. The Photo Transfer is actually just the starting point to making richly layered mixed media artworks, incorporating painting, drawing and collage. 

Check out the demo video below for a teaser of what to expect from this workshop. 

Staring with found images, photos, drawing, etc... the image is transferred to the drawing surface using a variety of techniques.

Photo Transfer Demo with Keegan Luttrell

Berlin Drawing Room seeks workshop locations

Starting in 2017 we are adopting a new more mobile format! 

We are looking for locations to host workshops, either as a one-off or on an ongoing basis. Project spaces, artist studios, co-working spaces are all options we would consider! If you have a space to offer or a recommendation we look forward to hearing from you:

Our workshops typically take place on evenings during the week or on the weekend. Workshop formats vary, from one day workshops to weekly/ bi-weekly workshops that meet over the course of 4-6 weeks. Find out more on our website:

Are you an artist and you would like to host a workshop in your own studio? Check out our Guest Artist Workshop Open Call

Space Requirements:
- Can host workshops with at least 10 students.
- Has a creative atmosphere that can handle a little bit of messiness.
- Reasonably priced: although we can't afford to pay a large sum for each usage, we would like to work with a few spaces on a regular basis with more than just a couple bookings.

Space Wishes:
- Artist run.
- Collaborative in nature and would offer some level of promotion, even if just an event listing in calendar. Berlin Drawing Room would obviously reciprocate!
- Would be interested in working together long term. 
- Could potentially store some still-life props, art-supplies, stackable table-tops/ chairs on a temporary basis to be used for in-progress workshops. 

Berlin Drawing Room is hiring instructors

We are hiring artists for two different positions at the Berlin Drawing Room!

The Berlin Drawing Room was founded by artist Mira O'Brien in 2011 and offers studio workshops with a focus on drawing and painting. We are looking to work with additional artists who share our passion for teaching and bringing creativity into the lives of a diverse and inclusive group of participants.

Find instructions on how to apply for two different opportunities at the Berlin Drawing Room: Guest Artist Workshop and Instructor. Please familiarize yourself with our current offerings and team at our website:

Send all application material and questions to

Update: Instructor position has been filled, Guest Artist Workshop proposals are reviewed on an ongoing basis. If you have an idea for a workshop, get in touch!

1) Open Call: Guest Artist Workshops

Apply to teach a Guest Artist Workshop that relates to your own studio practice!
"In this series of intensive workshops we invite Guest Artists to teach a technique specific to their own practice. Guest Artists are highly accomplished in their respective mediums and have exhibited internationally.
Learn directly from the artists that are defining current trends and bringing fresh relevance to both traditional and experimental techniques!"
- You are an actively exhibiting artist with a committed studio practice.
- You have completed a university level degree in fine art.
- You have a passion for teaching and sharing your knowledge!
- Preferable: you can write invoices as a Kleinunternehmer.

You can expect:
- If we think your proposal  would be a good fit with the Berlin Drawing Room, we will get in touch with you. A few selected proposals will get scheduled this winter, while others will be kept on file to be scheduled in the near future.
- Compensation varies, depending on the length of the workshop, what the additional costs might be, number of students, etc... but you can expect something in the range of 200-400 Euro, plus material budget.

To apply, please submit the following materials:
- Proposal for Guest Artist Workshop:
A Guest Artist Workshop is an intensive 1-2 day format that usually takes place over a weekend. The focus should be on teaching a specific skill that relates to the applicants own studio practice. Although the focus on a hands on skill is central, it can also include a conceptual/ theoretical grounding.
- CV
- Link to artist website.
- Please indicate whether or not you can host the workshop in your own studio, or would have access to a space to host the workshop (approx. 10 students). At this time, preference will be given to applicants who can provide their own workshop space.

**NOTE: At the moment we are not accepting proposals for design related workshops. 

2) Instructor: for ongoing workshops (this position has been filled)

Apply to become an instructor at the Berlin Drawing Room and teach one (or more) of the ongoing workshops we offer. This instructor will work closely with Founding Director Mira O'Brien to take over one or more of the classes she currently teaches, for at least one year. This is an excellent opportunity for someone who is eager to gain teaching experience and is interested in alternative educational models.

- You are an actively exhibiting artist with a committed studio practice, with a focus on drawing and painting.
- You have completed a university level degree in fine art.
- You can envision working with the Berlin Drawing Room on an ongoing basis.
- You have a passion for teaching and sharing your knowledge!
- Preferable: you can write invoices as a Kleinunternehmer.

You can expect:
- Training to teach a specific workshop with access to pre-existing teaching material, including syllabus.
- Possibility to propose your own workshop ideas.
- Hourly compensation with a small research honorarium.

To apply, please submit the following materials:
- CV
- Link to artist website.
- From the current list of workshops on our website, which workshops could you imagine teaching. Are you confident in teaching representational drawing and painting?
- Optional: Title and short description (one paragraph) of a new workshop you would like to teach.
- Briefly summarize your teaching philosophy and goals (one paragraph).

Drawing Workshop Supply List

Drawing Workshop Supply List
- various pencils from soft to hard (a kit of at least 6 pencils) 
- sketch pad, A2-3 
- graphite stick (soft, that means ~ B6)
- kneadable eraser
- hard white eraser
- sharpener

Guide for where to buy art supplies

Back to Drawing Workshop page