Amy Swartz


The Drawing Board is an artist-educator collective (Natalie Majaba Waldburger, Amy Swartz, and JJ Lee) that performs methodological explorations of the labour, process, and drawing. Our creative artworks examine the role of drawing through collaboration, mediated by the institution’s colonial legacies including race construction, gender identification, and organizational hierarchies among human resources. READ THE FULL INTERVIEW HERE.


Participatory performance. Drawing Board Meeting #4, OCAD University Ada Slaight Gallery performance with guest artist Jennifer Wigmore.

We use play and humour as tools for critique. Drawing Board meetings are run like committee meetings with drawing proposals presented as motions on an agenda for committee approval. Our dry, rule oriented comedic approach functions as satire illustrating the ridiculousness of bureaucratic structure when unhinged from context. We specifically look at the absurdity of uncritical adherence to bureaucratic decision-making processes that obscure creative thinking. We use humour to critique the institutions regulatory frameworks that functionally oppress the expressions of creative diversity they claim to promote.  Bureaucracy becomes a familiar and ubiquitous experience in all aspects of our lives as mothers, teachers, and artists as we connect to institutional structures in various ways.  Playfulness speaks to the different roles we perform but also connects us to each other in a creative community with others.  

Our project uses collaboration, theatre, and performative drawing practices to test the inequities within university bureaucracy and other social structures.   

Rat King

Red tape, wire, dimensions variable (left), and Time Machine, punch clock, time cards forming a Mobius band, framed instructions (both 2017).

Sum Total

The Drawing Board Sum-Total 2017 chalkboard paint on plywood and white chalk 48-x-48


Sum Total, a durational and performative drawing was created by the Drawing Board as part of the inaugural Loop Gallery exhibition. We used a recurring motif of institutional digits culled from our own institution’s Annual Report, labour category salaries, attrition and enrollment numbers, grades, and other such administrative flotsam. As the Drawing Board, we are interested in the new ideas, concepts and forms that emerge when we integrate, consolidate, and execute our respective ways of playing, creating, reflecting, and laboring. As artist-educators working within the same post -secondary institution and toward common institutional goals, we perform co-work that enables shared reflection on creativity and systemic innovation.

Untitled, 2022

Collaboration with Amanda Burke, graphite and charcoal on paper, specimen pins, overhead projector.

Read the full Interview