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Unknown and unseen by most NAS students, the National Art School holds a large collection of early plaster casts and moulds, some dating back to the 1890s when they were imported from Europe as teaching aids for students.

We have recently set up a new cast room in Building 11, and CASTAWAYS Drawing Week participants will be the first to gain access to these unique items.

You will be able to book tickets from 9:30am on Friday 5 February.
Lecturers: Deborah Beck and Lorraine Kypiotis
Location: NAS archive and Building 11 seminar room

Hands and feet moulds, NAS collection

Lecturers Deborah Beck and Lorraine Kypiotis will provide a rare opportunity for you to choose your own objects and draw directly from the casts in the studio, using a wide variety of techniques and mediums.

Students will be encouraged to approach the subject matter in an innovative way, after being shown examples of contemporary artists who work with casts on the first day.

Some suggestions:

Alice Watson – graphite cast drawing 1930

• Create multiple images by drawing a cast and using photo release to duplicate it
• Wrap a cast in cloth/plastic and draw it wrapped (see examples of
work by Christo)
• Enclosures – draw the negative mould next to the positive of the cast
• Choose to draw the many fragments in the cast collection to make up a type of jigsaw of casts in your drawing
• Make a concertina book with a segment on each page – a portrait, hands and feet, animals, architectural details etc
• Glue collage materials onto your page and draw the casts over them
• Make a 3D cast in papier maché
• Erased drawings – draw the cast in charcoal, rub it out and redraw multiple times
• Use plaster on cardboard to create your own 3D image or assemblage

Dave McClellan, Charcoal drawing of a foot from the Hercules Farnese, 2004


Deborah Beck is an artist and historian who has taught at the National Art School for twenty years. She is currently collections manager, archivist and lecturer in drawing at the NAS. She has held 18 solo shows and exhibited as a finalist in the Adelaide Perry Drawing Prize and the Dobell Prize for Drawing at the Art Gallery of NSW and the Kedumba Drawing Award. She has written three books based on the history of the National Art School including a biography of sculptor Rayner Hoff.

Lorraine Kypiotis is a Senior Lecturer at the National Art School who has been teaching in Art History and Theory since 1997. She is passionate about art, education and history. Lorraine holds a Master of Arts degree from the University of Sydney in Renaissance Studies and is currently engaged in a Doctor of Philosophy in Art History at the University of Sydney. Her thesis is entitled “Castaways” and is based on the history and reception of the NAS cast collection, with a strong focus on the function of artefacts within art academies and society. She has exhibited in numerous group shows in Sydney and Queensland and is a finalist in the 2020 Blake Prize with her collage “Solitaire I: The Garden of Earthly Delights”.