March for Our Lives

Yesterday I walked and drew alongside thousands of children, teenagers, their parents, other adults and elderly folks during March for Our Lives. 

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I walked from my studio across the Morrison Bridge, over to SW 6th and Alder where I found the crowd. As I got within a few blocks from the march I could really feel the energy. It felt sad and angry, positive and hopeful at the same time. There was a marching band that was stopped at the corner getting everyone dancing and smiling. It was raining, so I tucked under the overhang to make my first drawing.

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The crowds poured down the street toward Pioneer Courthouse Square, where there would be speeches and a free concert by Portugal. The Man. This little boy with the 'arms are for hugging' sign really melted my heart.

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The band moved on, and I trotted alongside them in the rain while I drew. I was NOT looking where I was going, but thankfully folks seemed to just stream around me. 

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While I was doing the drawing above, the sweetest elderly woman saw me drawing, burst out "I LOVE YOU!" and dashed over to tell me she is also an artist and a poet and to encourage me to GET SEEN! <3 

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I paused again under the awning at Nordstrom on Broadway while people gathered in the square. The speeches began, and Portugal. The Man started performing, so I finished the above drawing, scurried over to the stairs outside Starbucks and wedged myself between two groups of teens to draw the performance.

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I caught 'Feel it Still,' (a favorite of mine at the moment) and their cover of Bob Dylan's 'The Times They Are A Changin,' which made me tear up a bit as I drew. As dismal as things seem politically right now, it was good to feel the solidarity and heartening to see such a massive turnout of future and current voters who are showing up to create a world where everyone feels safe. 

M. Ward at Revolution Hall

I'm slowly getting back into the swing of things after an intense few months of traveling (and moving). This summer we spent some time with my parents on Cape Cod, visited friends in Boston, then flew to Westport Ireland. Shortly after returning from Ireland, we set out on a cross-country drive to Portland OR, where we now reside. Leaving Brooklyn was a difficult decision and continues to be an adjustment, but there's a lot to love about Portland. 

Portland Japanese Garden © Carly Larsson 2016

Portland Japanese Garden © Carly Larsson 2016

Last weekend was a milestone birthday for me, so Saturday we checked out the Portland Japanese Garden and had dinner at Bamboo Sushi (amazing), then saw M. Ward perform at Revolution Hall on Sunday. Above are the two drawings I got in at the garden before they told me I could not use ink or COLORS? I was going to buy a membership because the BBG's Japanese Garden was one of my absolute favorite places to draw, but this was a huge bummer so I didn't. 

Telekenesis opening for M. Ward at Revolution Hall © Carly Larsson 2016

Telekenesis opening for M. Ward at Revolution Hall © Carly Larsson 2016

Sunday we saw M. Ward at Revolution Hall, which is in an old high school auditorium (formerly Washington High School, built in 1906). There was no photography per the request of the artist, and it was really nice to be at a show where everyone was present, watching the show, and nobody was on their phones the whole time (honestly, when does anyone actually watch those iPhone videos they spend entire concerts filming?) Luckily, drawing was permitted, *unlike* at the aforementioned garden (can you tell I'm not over it?) A band called Telekinesis, pictured above, opened. They had maracas and got people dancing, which made drawing them great way to warm up.  

M. Ward at Revolution Hall © Carly Larsson 2016

M. Ward at Revolution Hall © Carly Larsson 2016

When M. Ward came on I was surprised how different he sounded live than on his albums. Not in a bad way - it still sounded like him - more in the sense that it felt like he was playing around, improvising and trying new things. I like that. 

M. Ward &amp; his fluffy-haired bassist at Revolution Hall © Carly Larsson 2016

M. Ward & his fluffy-haired bassist at Revolution Hall © Carly Larsson 2016

I was happy he played some older favorites, like Chinese Translation from Post-War (drawing below). He also played a few covers, including Frank Sinatra, Buddy Holly, and John Fahey. I was improvising too, since it was pitch black in there and I couldn't see what I was doing. It was a pleasant surprise when the lights came on and the colors I was blindly grabbing out of my box of pastels were similar to the colors of the lights!

M. Ward at Revolution Hall © Carly Larsson 2016

M. Ward at Revolution Hall © Carly Larsson 2016

He is an unbelievable guitarist and was joined by some equally talented musicians, all from Portland. There was a lot of focus on the instrumentals and a few amazing solos. I love how he is able to incorporate influences from so many decades and genres, making them his own. That's something I aim to do in my own work. After all, it was Picasso who told us that "good artists borrow, great artists steal." 

M. Ward at Revolution Hall © Carly Larsson 2016

M. Ward at Revolution Hall © Carly Larsson 2016

Drummer for M. Ward at Revolution Hall © Carly Larsson 2016

Drummer for M. Ward at Revolution Hall © Carly Larsson 2016

Washington Post Feature

Yesterday the Washington Post published "The most powerful art from the #BlackLivesMatter movement, three years in" by Victoria A. Fogg, a collection of artwork to commemorate the 3rd anniversary of the Black Lives Matter movement. I'm feeling honored to have had a drawing of mine included in the piece, and to be up there with some really amazing artists! Below are a couple of screenshots from the article:

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Screenshot from the Washington Post article  "The most powerful art from the #BlackLivesMatter movement, three years in"  by Victoria A. Fogg&nbsp;

Screenshot from the Washington Post article "The most powerful art from the #BlackLivesMatter movement, three years in" by Victoria A. Fogg 

My piece was done on location in NYC's Foley Square during the 2014 Eric Garner Protest. I attended with friends and fellow artists Audrey Hawkins, Evan Turk and Chris Brody. See my blog post on that day here, and don't miss Audrey and Evan's powerful drawings.

Front Row Society x Carly Larsson

Last September I was commissioned by Berlin-based Front Row Society to design and illustrate a fall/winter collection of 10 scarves. When I got the job, I had been spending a lot of time drawing in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden's Japanese Hill and Pond Garden. I was feeling really inspired by Japanese art & culture. So I started researching winter activities in Japan. I found out about these amazing ice festivals they have, where massive, intricate ice sculptures are carved and illuminated with multi-colored lights. I decided this would be the theme for my collection. The colored lights inspired the color palette, while the sculptures of symbolic animals informed each design. Here are some of my early thumbnails:

© Carly Larsson 2014.

© Carly Larsson 2014.

Below is the crab design in its final form.  Click here to view the final illustrations + lookbook (shot by Grey Stanton), and here shop the collection.

© Grey Stanton 2015

© Grey Stanton 2015

 

 

Marsh Landscape

Here's another landscape painting I did while home on Cape Cod in September just as the colors began to change.

Subway Portraits

Yesterday I took the subway to meet a friend in Queens. It was rush hour, so there were plenty of great characters to surreptitiously draw. 

A very serious man reading the newspaper on the G train © Carly Larsson 2014

A very serious man reading the newspaper on the G train © Carly Larsson 2014

Some men on the G train. I was inadvertently gracious to the guy in the front - he was about 20 years older than I drew him, but he moved so I had to fudge it a little ;) © Carly Larsson 2014

Some men on the G train. I was inadvertently gracious to the guy in the front - he was about 20 years older than I drew him, but he moved so I had to fudge it a little ;) © Carly Larsson 2014

Man on the 7 train © Carly Larsson 2014

Man on the 7 train © Carly Larsson 2014

Girl on the 7 train. Loved her puffy jacket and floral handbag. © Carly Larsson 2014

Girl on the 7 train. Loved her puffy jacket and floral handbag. © Carly Larsson 2014

Drawing on the train really makes the ride fly by. There have been times I missed my stop because I was so focused (luckily that didn't happen this time!)

When I showed my friend Siyeon the drawings later on, she knew exactly what train I saw each person on without me telling her. I thought that was pretty funny - It's so true that there are different types of characters that frequent each subway line! 

This cute little guy on the G kept peeking out at me. So cute in his little Converse sneaks. © Carly Larsson 2014

This cute little guy on the G kept peeking out at me. So cute in his little Converse sneaks. © Carly Larsson 2014

7 train © Carly Larsson 2014

7 train © Carly Larsson 2014

7 train © Carly Larsson 2014

7 train © Carly Larsson 2014

Chic ponytail lady, G train © Carly Larsson

Chic ponytail lady, G train © Carly Larsson

I loved the shape of this guy on the 7 train - so round! © Carly Larsson 2014

I loved the shape of this guy on the 7 train - so round! © Carly Larsson 2014

I must admit, I drew this kid out of aggravation. He was playing his soccer game with the volume on full blast. 7 train. © Carly Larsson 2014

I must admit, I drew this kid out of aggravation. He was playing his soccer game with the volume on full blast. 7 train. © Carly Larsson 2014

Paul Revere's House

Over the summer I visited Boston with Dalvero Academy as part of our project following the Charles W. Morgan on her 38th Voyage. One of the places we visited while there was Paul Revere's house at 19 North Square in the North End. Revere owned the home from 1770-1800, where he lived with his second wife Rachel Walker, their 8 children, and his wife's mother (he already had 8 from his previous marriage to Sarah Orne! And the house only had 4 rooms! Can you say nightmare?)

Facade of the Paul Revere House in Boston's North End. © Carly Larsson 2014.

Facade of the Paul Revere House in Boston's North End. © Carly Larsson 2014.

The windows were made with manganese oxide which changes color in the sunlight. People in the 1800s saw this as a defect but I thought it was beautiful! © Carly Larsson 2014

The windows were made with manganese oxide which changes color in the sunlight. People in the 1800s saw this as a defect but I thought it was beautiful! © Carly Larsson 2014

While most of us know Paul Revere for his activity in the Revolutionary War, he was a gold and silversmith, a trade he learned from his father. He also worked as a copperplate engraver during the pre-Revolution depression, and moonlighted as a dentist from 1768-1775, cleaning teeth and wiring false teeth made from walrus ivory or other animal bones. After the Revolutionary War, Revere opened a foundry and supplied bolts, spikes and nails for North End shipyards (including brass fittings for the U.S.S. Constitution), produced cannons, cast bells, and opened the first copper-rolling mill in North America in 1801 where he provided copper sheeting for the hull of the U.S.S. Constitution and the dome of the Massachusetts State House. I was surprised by how much Paul Revere accomplished in his lifetime, how many different things he did, and how little I knew about much of it!      

900 lb bronze bell cast in 1804 by the Paul Revere &amp; Son foundry. On display in the courtyard of the Paul Revere House in Boston's North End. © Carly Larsson 2014

900 lb bronze bell cast in 1804 by the Paul Revere & Son foundry. On display in the courtyard of the Paul Revere House in Boston's North End. © Carly Larsson 2014

DUMBO Arts Festival

This past weekend was the annual DUMBO Arts Festival in Brooklyn. After 4 years living in Brooklyn and never having gone, I decided it was due time to check it out. 

"Circle Circus" an interactive sculpture by Saul Schisler. © Carly Larsson 2014

"Circle Circus" an interactive sculpture by Saul Schisler. © Carly Larsson 2014

There was so much to look at and so many people everywhere that it was a bit overwhelming at first, and I must admit I spent more time wandering around with my mouth hanging open than actually drawing. One of the first things I stopped to see was "Circle Circus" by Saul Schisler, an interactive sculpture consisting of an oversized spirograph accompanied by giant pencils. Both kids and adults were having a blast trying to operate the mechanism, and I heard a few people say they had a difficult time using the giant pencil. 

"Circle Circus" an interactive sculpture by Saul Schisler. © Carly Larsson 2014

"Circle Circus" an interactive sculpture by Saul Schisler. © Carly Larsson 2014

While I was drawing one guy told me he'd be more impressed if I was using a giant pencil. Unfortunately, I didn't have a large enough sketchbook for that (and also, random man, this may be shocking- but I was not there to impress you). 

The Eat Morris food truck on Water Street, DUMBO. © Carly Larsson 2014

The Eat Morris food truck on Water Street, DUMBO. © Carly Larsson 2014

After watching and drawing the Circle Circus for a while, my friend Betsy was hungry so we decided to check out the many food trucks lining Water Street. The lines were pretty long, so instead of waiting I snacked on some almonds and drew. The drawing above is of the Eat Morris truck which serves fancy grilled cheese. It smelled awesome and I learned later that they do gluten-free too.

Jumbo DUMBO Puppy sculpture by Shinji Murakami. © Carly Larsson 2014

Jumbo DUMBO Puppy sculpture by Shinji Murakami. © Carly Larsson 2014

Next stop was the Jumbo DUMBO Puppy, a huge sculpture by Shinji Murakami made out of cardboard boxes! To be perfectly honest, I wasn't 100% sold on going to the festival until I saw the Jumbo DUMBO Puppy online. It just seemed so goofy, and how can you NOT want to go draw an enormous puppy made out of cardboard boxes!? I was very tempted to draw on it, but alas it was not an interactive sculpture and I figured that would be frowned upon. 

Reflection / Kolonihavehus by Tom Fruin and CoreAct. © Carly Larsson 2014

Reflection / Kolonihavehus by Tom Fruin and CoreAct. © Carly Larsson 2014

Last stop was Reflection / Kolonihavehus by Tom Fruin and CoreAct. This one could be experienced both as a sculpture and a piece of performance art; there were 5 performances inside of it. The audience was invited to wander in and out of the piece as they liked. It drew a lot of attention as it was right on the main walkway of the Brooklyn Bridge Park.  Overall it was a good time - of all places I've drawn in public, I seemed to attract the least weird looks at the DUMBO Arts Festival :P Can't wait to go back next year!