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 & 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

Jury Duty

I was called for jury duty the first week of July. I was displeased, but instead of complaining - OK, along with complaining - I saw the people-watching opportunity for what it was. I grabbed a sketchbook and some pencils and arrived at the Supreme Court in Downtown Brooklyn promptly at 8 AM. An hour later, people were still trickling in, and nothing was happening.

This guy had the snazziest suspenders / haircut / color combo going on.

This guy had the snazziest suspenders / haircut / color combo going on.

Essentially, it was hours upon hours of waiting in "central jury" before being shown a cheesy informational film about how AWESOME and FUN jury duty really is. Most people had something to read or were on their phones and tablets, which made secretively drawing them a breeze. When people notice you drawing them they generally either a) get really uncomfortable and glare at you or b) act like they don't notice and start posing. 

Next we were ushered into the courtroom for a few more hours of waiting. Except this time, there were no books, beverages (i.e coffee) or recording devices allowed, and all cell phones/tablets had to be shut off. This is when the juror's body language (boredom and fatigue) started to get really good. I wish I had drawn more during this part, but wasn't sure if my pencil counted as a recording device. The police assigned to courtroom security were NOT the friendliest, and I was pretty intimidated...

The guy above gave zero f**ks. He would nap for a while, pop his head up briefly, look around, then resume napping. He also was an amazing shape and a lot of fun to draw.

Some guys sneaking onto their cell phones in the court room before the judge returned from lunch (30 minutes late).

Some guys sneaking onto their cell phones in the court room before the judge returned from lunch (30 minutes late).

I think the body language of the guy below pretty much sums up the entire jury duty experience:

No Justice, No Peace: The Millions March for Eric Garner

Last night I attended the Millions March protest for Eric Garner at Foley Square to do some reportage illustration with friends Audrey Hawkins, Evan Turk and Chris Brody. When we arrived there were already hundreds of people gathered; the square was packed and people were spilling into the streets.

The atmosphere was peaceful but charged with a kinetic, positive energy. It was heartening to see how many different people turned out to demonstrate. There were parents with children, teenagers, college students and elderly people of every race and gender. People were chanting "Hands up don't shoot" and  "No justice no peace." I overheard a mother shout out “hands up!" and her toddler yelled "Justice!” I had to laugh.

Protestors in Foley Square in front of the United States Court House.

Protestors in Foley Square in front of the United States Court House.

Soon we began to move toward the entrance to the Brooklyn Bridge, with protestors chanting "Eric Garner, Michael Brown, shut it down shut it down!" and "Racist, sexist, anti-gay, NYPD go away!" Once we got to the entrance to the bridge we stopped; I heard that police had blocked entry to the bridge. I was at the very tail end of the group, behind police who had formed a line standing shoulder-to-shoulder. They started to back up as I drew; one bumped into me and apologized.

The crowd moving toward the Brooklyn Bridge

The crowd moving toward the Brooklyn Bridge

There were news crews, photographers and journalists everywhere, as well as a few different helicopters circling overhead shining spotlights down on the crowd. Some other chants I heard were "Indict, convict, send those killer cops to jail! The whole damn system is guilty as hell!" and "How do you spell racist? N-Y-P-D!" One guy even had a saxophone that he played the whole time we marched, though as I began drawing him he was lost in the crowd, so unfortunately he doesn't make a cameo here!

Protestors attempting to gain access to the Brooklyn Bridge.

Protestors attempting to gain access to the Brooklyn Bridge.

Some protestors had made large cardboard cutouts of bodies that looked like chalk outlines. Each one had a name of a black person killed by the police. Some people had megaphones, but the crowd chanting in unison seemed to be the most impactful. For a large group, the protestors marched fast. While Audrey and I said goodbye to Chris and Evan, the crowd disappeared down Centre Street. We found them again on Broadway, where they had taken over the street and traffic was at a standstill. Then we turned and marched up Canal Street.

Protestors march down Canal Street toward the Holland Tunnel.

Protestors march down Canal Street toward the Holland Tunnel.

This adorable little girl riding on her dad's shoulders had made her own sign. It was a bit scribbly and hard to read, but I think it said something about paying reparations to the families of those killed by police. While a few motorists/commuters seemed irritated, most were actually cheering on the protestors. A few cars and trucks beeped their horns to the beat of the chants, some people put their hands up as we walked by, and a few work crews had made signs saying "Ferguson is everywhere" that they hung in the windows of their trucks! As the crowd moved toward the Holland Tunnel, Audrey and I decided to hang back and draw some of the scary-looking cops in riot gear. They were standing shoulder-to-shoulder holding their batons out in front of them, and had economy packs of plastic handcuffs at the ready. The leftmost cop in the drawing below said I made him look fat.

NYPD in riot gear lined up along Canal Street.

NYPD in riot gear lined up along Canal Street.

In addition to the hundreds of cops on the streets, there were hundreds more in vans following the protestors. It seemed like overkill for such a peaceful protest, and I definitely noticed that many of the cops were treating bystanders/commuters (and us, with our sketchbooks) with more respect than they showed the protestors. While we were there, it seemed like the police were, for the most part, standing back and letting the protestors do their thing. However, just after I left I saw photographs and reports of police indiscriminately arresting and pepper-spraying people, including children and elderly women. Not exactly the best PR move for them, considering the protest was for ending police brutality, but I guess they got bored of standing around. In all, it was a wonderful and moving experience. It was so inspiring to see all the different people that came out on such a cold night to demand reform and an end to police violence!

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!