At Ldn our team varies with time with seasons, new developments and seasonal variations but one person is behind all of this who brings or keep us all together and that's the funder and CEO at LDN. The Creator of this Network and movement that is now international with online classes, is known as Tony who still enjoys training, guiding our members at most classes. His Artist name is Santiago, that was given to him by his Spanish teacher at 16, who enjoyed reading his short novels, where he would especially associate sounds, words and colours. She used to call him her "little Bunuel". That says that Tony Loves Colors a lot...
He is French from Paris where he had an uneasy upbringing but he Studied and Drew very hard so he could always plot with all Art teachers to get other children to participate to big projects/competitions and ended up with the best possible MA in Advertising and Sales at the best French School for that (IGS). He started his adult life and carreer selling Computer systems/softwares to Film Production and distribution companies which had an effect on all jobs he ever did after that. Before he left for good for London he had a one man Graphic Design/leafleting business (no computers then). He then realized that hard courageous work can change someones Life in their favour and can only affect/improve the World they live in.
From the age of 6 he would make his money from Drawing people and singing/Basking (Edith Piaf/Elvis Style). He really enjoyed being able to sing at home, mainly, or go to Montmartre to Draw Tourists whenever he felt like it after work or at weekends. This in fact was his medecine that helped him continue finding and go though challenges, always hard working and braving the impossible. He is slowly writing his Bio so hopefully soon we'll find out more...
In 2003 after spending 5 years on his own, building and rebuilding (grand design) a 10 bedroom property, when the light at the end of the tunnel was bright enough, he decided to take on a hobby that would help him stay sain and sociable, as he can sometime miss people.
That hobby was Life Drawing, in Shoreditch/London, where he found an abomination of a class, where Life models would act as if they were slaves hoping to run away, escape. They were apparently, forced to sign up for 10 weeks contracts and had to accept to be paid less than £3/h before taxes so about £2/h with really strict rules. They would try to get Artists to feel their pain in many ways. Tony took this as a major issue that needed to be looked at until he, like most attendees, felt that the problem was even deeper than that. He had a long conversation with the Art teacher who revealed that they were forced themselves, because of something we call Curriculum, to repeat the exact same 2 x 5 mins comments about everyone's Drawing, slowly coming towards you at evey class, 2 to 3 times/class, ridiculously disturbing/anoying everyone. Tony, then, decided to take as many attendees as possible to the pub to discuss the problem which was then a premiere to go to a pub after a class. One of them was Nils Edelman you might know of and others who are still regular at classes around London Today. Tony, from then, came to the conclusion that something had to be done about it or Life Drawing would have sincerely and quietly disappeared from the surface of this planet. That would have been sad and maybe could be avoided so he started to drastically change things at all possible levels. The few things that helped him achieve what he did were; Gumtree in the first days and weeks, in its first glorious first years, then, to help the model situation, he trippled their wages, without really expecting anything to happen from it, when, in fact, it changed everything and made History, he also reduced the cost of classes by two thirds and charge only £4 pp. He realized before starting that the many who went to adult education classes, who needed something creative, fun and affordable to do, for many years, especially if unemployed, would absolutely love it and they did, came down from everywhere by the 100's, 1000's to his classes no matter where they were held. He had to find ways to accomodate that many people and started using Pubs, as his Uncle owned one in Paris, where everyone was smoking then. Tony used more than a 100 pubs in 10 years, stopped smoking before the Ban, ran up to 10 classes a week in Pubs, offices or Art Studios and had friends (then, who became competitors) to run classes as a job or Life models to run them by themselves, so about 15 classes every week all over London, mainly in Pubs. This was only possible if you could carry about 50 kgs of equipment, originally to classes and he could, so he did as pub never store anything. Unfortunately succes and glory, for him, meant business diaster for many schools, Curriculum people, who had to run things in the most old fashion way, because it always helps education related businesses and was the only thing that could keep them ticking.
Tony was considered, then, by the existing industry, as being a rebel, an outlaw who simply turned their world up side down. Most of them could not do anything about it and could only wait and see, when a few Life models, who provided other Life models and themselves to their classes, decided to volunteer and became those who'd do something about the problem as it was much easier for them, being more or less independant. So from Now on, no matter what Tony wrote, it would be read and read again 50 times, until they'd find something they could anonymously use, report (From Facebook to Ning...) and started building little successes from which they would keep on building on. At the time they could only target the way he wrote his emails or Class descriptions and were already actively spreading the word that he was illiterate and that he was giving women a bad image/press, which wasn't true at all but this had the best possible chance to work against him. Tony at that time didn't have a clue of all this and continued his crusade, happily, which was to bring people back to the Drawing boards, together, to Draw the very Special Human Figure with great success.
He went to the Press, on Tele many times with celebs, was interviewed, received Press awards while those people would spend their time picking on things and doing their best to affect his reputation anonymously. For 10 long years anything that could look or sound slightly anti women, was used, by the Life model Agency, those life models created by then, we all know of in London. They started asking other models for favours to help the feminine condition secretly/anonymously, and offered jobs in return. To cut this short, up until today this hasn't stopped, they improved their techniques, methods, some advertise themselves publicly as Soboteur, some show examples, photos of themselves as Feminist, dominating goddesses calling men Dogs, when the people they were apparently doing that for originally, all the schools and teachers who originally suffered, are now, or were. before Covid, making thousands happily every week, thanks to Tony's mouvement/rebellion. Which is why to try to balance things and be fair we advise everyone to report to us or the British authorities, who are on our side, if you get sent any defamatory emails, materials with links to more. Those people have acted unlawfully for Business reasons, using feminism which is a good thing originally, and could have distroyed not only his Life but the Life of people they used to do evil work for them, exposing, using, exploiting them with great dangers and still are.
Tony has to ignore those few people so he can happily help the many even if being accused of anything unfailry does really hurt.
Luckily, Tony has got a great sense of humour that transcends in his tutoring and classes, his last classes were held at a big Comedy Club in Central London for 4/5 years until Covid 19. Tony says since 2003, that he hopes to, boldly bring people, where no one has drawn before... and he did with a very long list of those...
The best we can do is to continue Drawing, at in Person classes or Online with his support. He is now doing what he did 18 years ago by making classes so affordable with monthly memberships and by paying life models again better than ever. Hopefully you will notice it, in what now became a sea of classes all around the World. I think tony would rather being considered as a Father, taking care of us, rather than a competitor to anyone. He is building something that will remove competition if we continue believing in him more than ever.
More about Us
What we do now in 2021
Our idea is to try to affect our World in the best possible way by helping it's Population, no matter where, with being more creative, Artistic for Less £$ss. This is done by promoting on platforms where people expect to pay less than normal, offereing crazy Monthly memberships and many extras that weren't possible before. We Aim to develop online as well as In Person classes everywhere, in different styles and help people go back to, organize in Person classes with whatever they need. We'll help As many Art teachers, Artists, Models in the World get through this difficult Covid period and after. Since 2003 we pay them as well as we can afford as profit is absolutely not out aim here.