• Toon Vugts

Jumalaga võrdne looja / In God's League


Photo & Text by Scott Diel - This article has been earlier published in Edasi nr 9. 2021 -

ENG UNDERNEATH

Juba enne koroonat meeldis Toon Vugtsile end muust maailmast isoleerida. Kasutades selleks pliiatsit, paberit ja alasti modelli.


Need paar tundi, mil sa vaatled modelli ja püüad nähtut paberile kanda, oled mingis teises

dimensioonis,” ütleb Vugts. Joonistajana on ta võrreldav Jumalaga. “Sa tegeled loomisega. Inimest joonistades mängid sa Jumalat, sinu käe all sünnib elu.” Kui see Jumala-võrdlus kõrvale jätta, on Vugts erakordselt tagasihoidlik. “Ma ei jõua kunagi John Singer Sargenti või Ilja Repini tasemele, kuid ma naudin kunstiga tegelemist.” Nooruses oli Repin talle suureks eeskujuks ja ta elas mitu aastat tema kombel koos kunstnikust sõbraga Antwerpenis, kus kahekesi päevast päeva, enamasti

trussikute väel, maaliti. “Kogu elamisest sai ateljee ja omamoodi kunstimuuseum. See oli fantastiline!”


KÜLLI VÕIT

Samamoodi nagu Repin teenis algul elatist ikoonimaalijana, oli Vugts tavaline illustraator, kes tegi tellimustöid filosoofia-, finants- ja veterinaaria-ajakirjadele, aga ka seksikamatele väljaannetele nagu Penthouse. Kord tegi ta 200 illustratsiooni prantsuse keele õpikule. Tema tööd on õpetanud

nii eakaid kokkama kui ka sõdureid maamiine paigaldama. 2000. aastal Eindhoveni disainiakadeemias magistrikraadi omandades armus ta eestlannast Küllisse.

“Ta oli jalustrabav – neetult ilus, tore ja seksikas. Mängisime pööningul piljardit ja ma lasin tal võita, et saaksin ta hiljem revanšisoovi ettekäändel välja kutsuda.”

Vugts tegi talle ettepaneku asuda alaliselt Hollandisse elama, kuid naine keeldus, sest ei tahtnud oma tütart, vanemaid ja suvilat Eestis maha jätta. 2007. aastal andis Vugts alla ja kolis ise Eestisse. (Selguse huvides olgu öeldud, et ta kohtus oma abikaasaga, kui too oli

samas ülikoolis magistriõppes, ja nad ei leidnud teineteist mingi russianbridesonline.com-i kaudu.)


JOO JA JOONISTA

Eestis teenis Vugts leiba joonistaja ja disainerina, tehes kõike, mida iganes turul vaja oli: veebisaite, logosid, vaibamustreid, filmiplakateid, korporatsioonide jaoks koomikseid. Nooruses öeldi Vugtsile, et kunstnikutööga pole võimalik ära elada, ent kuna ta on valmis uusi joonistus- ja disainitööriistu

õppima, on ta suutnud end ära elatada ka nii väiksel turul nagu Eesti ega pole pidanud senimaani

Uberi rooli istuma. Kõige enam tundis ta Eestis puudust kunstiringkonna seltsielust. Antwerpenis

sai ta regulaarselt kunstnikest kamraadidega kokku. “Kuulasime muusikat, joonistasime,

vaidlesime, milline süsi on kõige parem ja milline paber ei kõlba kuskile.” Kuid Eestis olid ka need

vähesed kunstisessioonid, kus üldsekäia sai, ranged ja igavad nagu koolitunnid.


Nii otsustaski ta siin luua sama kunstiskeene, mille oli seljataha jätnud: kus joonistada lihtsalt armastusest selle vastu. Baaripidaja James Ramsden andis tema kasutusse Pudeli õllebaari teise korruse. Vugts tõi sinna modelli ja pool tosinat illustraatorit kohale – ning Drink & Draw ehk Joo ja Joonista oligi sündinud.


DOPAMIIN

Kaheksa aastat hiljem on Drink & Draw varsti korraldanud juba kolmsada joonistussessiooni. Aktidele on nüüdseks lisandunud akrobaadid, balleti- ja kõhutantsijad, dominatrix’id ja

orjad (“Kink & Draw”), “Tähesõdade” ning Marveli universumi tegelased. Isegi alasti Minotauros. Sessioonid on oimunud nii kaubanduskeskustes, kinodes, muusikafestivalidel kui ka KUMU-s. Von Krahlis peetud üritustel käidi mõnda aega usinalt Tinderi-kohtingutel. “Drink & Draw on rändtsirkus.

Pole vahet, kuhu see mind viib,” ütleb Vugts, “kas suurde KUMU saali või Rapla noortekeskusesse. Mind teeb õnnelikuks see, kui suudan innustada inimesi ilu imetlema ja joonistama.”


Ajal, mil keskmine inimene istub enamuse ajast ninapidi telefonis, on joonistamine sotsiaalmeediale väga hea alternatiiv. Pliiatsi liigutamine paberil toodab serotoniini, endorfiine, norepinefriini ja dopamiini. On tõestatud, et see parandab kognitiivseid võimeid ning intuitsiooni. Hoiab

ära dementsust ja vähendab stressi. Kuid mis kõige parem – see viib mõtted mujale. “Need kaks tundi oled sa muust maailmast isoleeritud. See on sulnis eskapism.”


Eestlastele aga on see andnud võimaluse oma kinnine olek veidigi vabamaks lasta. Lisaks massilisele joonistamishuvile on Vugts märganud, et ka poseerida soovijate hulk aina kasvab. “Uskumatu, kui pajud tahavad ennast näidata. Saan iga nädal vähemalt ühe e-kirja mõnelt

modellina poseerida soovijalt. Ja naljaga pooleks võib öelda, et minust on saanud nüüd ka aktimodellide kupeldaja. Tommy Cashi videosse oli päris mitut vaja ning selleks helistati mulle.

Olev Subbi dokumentaalfilmi otsiti samuti modelli ja pöörduti taas minu poole.”


REPINI TAASELUSTAMINE

Vugtsi unistus elada repinlikku elu pole siiani kustunud, kuigi lapsevanemaks saades on ta pidanud – tema enda määratlust kasutades – oma Antwerpeni kuldajastu elustiili mõnevõrra kohandama.

“Ma unistan Baltimaade kunstikogukonnast. Et koguneme hiiglaslikku kiviseinte ja suurte akendega avarasse vabrikuhoonesse, mis on ratastel liigutatavate seintega jagatud kunstiateljeedeks.

Õhtuti lükatakse seinad ühte nurka ja ruumi keskel poodiumil võtavad koha sisse modellid. Ma ei

viitsi enam A-4ga jamada. Ma tahanDrink & Draw’ üritusi suures mastaabis teha!”


***

In God's League


Even before Corona, Toon Vugts liked to isolate. His tools: pencil, paper, and a nude model.

“It’s a couple of hours away from the world, staring at the model, trying to transfer what you see to paper,” Vugts says.


Drawing puts him in a league with God. “It’s an act of creation. When you draw a human you play God, you create life underneath your hand.” Despite the God comparison, Vugts is uncharacteristically modest. “I’m never going to be at the level of John Singer Sargent or Ilja Repin, but I enjoy the doing.” In his youth he tried to be Repin, living several years in Antwerp with an

artist friend, the pair painting every day and rarely getting out of their underwear. “The whole house was an atelier and museum. It was fantastic!”


Letting Külli win

Just as Repin originally painted icons to make a living, Vugts was a workaday illustrator for philosophy-, financial-, and veterinary magazines, as well for sexier titles like Penthouse. He once did 200 illustrations for a book on how to learn French. His work taught the elderly to cook and soldiers to place landmines.


In 2000, while getting a master’s degree at Design Academy Eindhoven, he fell in love with Külli from Estonia. 'She was a goddamn vision, so pretty and funny and sexy. We played pool

in the attic, and I let her win so I could ask her out later with the excuse that I wanted revenge.'

He invited her to live permanently to Holland, but she refused, unwilling to give up her daughter, parents, and summer house back in Estonia. In 2007, he surrendered and moved to Estonia.

(Vugts would like it to be clear that he met his wife while she was getting a master's degree at the same university, and that neither he, nor she, was ever registered on russianbridesonline.com.)


Drink & Draw

In Estonia, Vugts supported himself by drawing or designing whatever the market needed: websites, logos, carpet textures, movie posters, comic strips for corporations. As a young man, Vugts was told that he’d never make a living as an artist, but as long as he’s been open to learning new drawing and designtools, he’s supported himself in markets as small as Estonia and hasn’t yet had to drive an Uber.


What he missed most in Estonia was the camaraderie of the art world. In Antwerp, he’d routinely come together with artist friends. “We’d listen to music, draw, argue about which charcoal is the best, what paper to avoid.” But in Estonia the only sessions he could find were stiff and instructional. So he decided to replicate the scene he’d left behind: drawing for the love of it.

The publican James Ramsden offered him the use of the second floor of Pudel Baar. Vugts brought a model and a half-dozen illustrators. Drink & Draw was born.


Dopamine

Eight years later, Drink & Draw is approaching its three- hundredth session. It’s moved beyond nudes to feature acrobats, ballet- and belly dancers, dominatrices and slaves

(“Kink & Draw”), characters from Star Wars and the Marvel Universe. Even a minotaur. Venues have included shopping malls, cinemas, music festivals, and KUMU. Sessions at the Von Krahl were, for a time, a popular Tinder date.


“Drink & Draw is a travelling circus. I don’t care where I go,” he says, “whether it’s KUMU’s big hall or the Rapla Youth Center, if I can motivate people to admire and draw beauty then I’m happy.”


In an age where average human is fixated on a phone, drawing competes well with social media. The act of moving pencil on paper produces serotonin, endorphins, norepinephrine, and

dopamine. It’s proven to improve cognitive functions and intuition. It staves off dementia and reduces stress. But best of all it’s a distraction. “It’s two hours of isolation. It’s a beautiful escape.”


For Estonians, it’s served as one step to free them from their repressed nature. In addition to the throngs who attend to draw, Vugts has seen a surge in those wanting to model. “It’s

insane the number of people who want to show themselves. I get at least one request per week from someone who wants to pose. And it seems I’ve become some kind of pimp for nude models.

Several were needed for the Tommy Cash video, so they called me. The documentary film about Olev Subbi needed a model and they turned to me.”


Repin redux

Vugts hasn’t given up on the dream of living the life of Repin, though having children has caused him to modify it somewhat from his lifestyle in what he refers to as the Golden

Age of Antwerp. “I dream of a Baltic art community. We gather in a giant, open factory space with stone walls and high windows. In the center we’ll have moveable walls on wheels to create ateliers for art that needs space. In the evenings we’ll push the walls to the side, and put models on a platform in the center. I’m tired of A4. I want to drink and draw on a massive scale!”


***


Drink & Draw was founded in 2013 at Pudel Baar. It offers a seat for the artist and a stage for models in various states of dress and undress.


Sessions are held weekly in museums, mansions, towers, ruins, malls, theaters, but mostly in bars. We love bars, hence our slogan, Because beer and art might just save the planet.


Get in touch with Toon if you’d like to draw or model


Toon Vugts

Condottiere at drinkandraw.ee,

Illustrator at drinkandraw.ee/betoon


***



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