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:
Last December I ventured to Rockefeller Center with Audrey Hawkins to draw the skaters in the midst of the Manhattan Christmas melee. Unlike this year's balmy December weather (reported high of 66˙ today in NYC) last year was much less forgiving. The drawing below was completed in a race against time as my fingers slowly froze, and tourists jostled for a prime selfie spot in front of the tree.
Once I got the money shot, it was way too cold to continue drawing outside. We ventured downstairs, to an area outside the rink's "VIP Hot Chocolate Lounge," where there are tables - and, most importantly, a Starbucks.
It was fun to watch and draw the skaters bumble and tumble around. Most were fairly inexperienced, with the occasional seasoned skater twirling and leaping through the crowd.
This past May, I spent the afternoon with my friend Audrey Hawkins drawing The Corwith Cramer in Brooklyn Bridge Park. (See Audrey's drawings from this day here). The Corwith Cramer is a 134-foot two-masted brigantine owned and operated by the Sea Education Association (SEA) out of Woods Hole, MA, just a few towns over from where I grew up on Cape Cod.
The ship serves as a floating lab, classroom, and office for students and researchers. This particular crew was returning from a five-week voyage studying biodiversity and conservation of the Sargasso Sea region. The ship's arrival in Brooklyn marked the end of the voyage, which began April 20 in San Juan Puerto Rico.
While we were drawing, Etienne Frossard, photographer for the Brooklyn Bridge Park, snapped our photo.
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.
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.
I think the body language of the guy below pretty much sums up the entire jury duty experience:
A few months ago I visited the Brooklyn Museum with my friend Audrey to do some drawing at the Killer Heels exhibit. At closing time I sat and drew some of the people leaving the museum while I waited for my ride. Here are a couple of shoe and people portraits!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
Every year I intend to get out and draw the NYC Marathon, but for one reason or another it never seems to happen. I live a block from the marathon route, so there really is no excuse! This year I was able to catch the tail end of it and get a couple quick drawings in.
This year marked the 20th anniversary of the Halloween 313 performances on Clinton Avenue. Coinciding with the Society for Clinton Hill's Annual Halloween Walk, every year on Halloween crowds gather outside 313 Clinton Avenue (home of Janna Kennedy, "the Halloween Lady") for free live performances. The performances are put together by an incredibly talented and dedicated group of volunteers including professional actors, producers, designers and artists from around Clinton Hill and Fort Greene. This year I was invited to draw inside the spooky parlor and also had the opportunity to draw the performances.
This year's performance was entitled "Nightmare on Clinton Avenue," and is set in "Clinton Hell." Two neighbors, Kat and Thomas wander by the spooky old mansion discussing rumors that it used to be an insane asylum for axe murderers. Legend has it that the proprietor of the house forces the inmates to perform variety shows every year on Halloween. Thomas dismisses the rumors as hearsay just as the warden of the asylum, Anesthesia Hangbody, appears and kidnaps him.
Kat approaches some police officers seeking help in rescuing her fiancée Thomas from Ms. Hangbody, but they report that no one has lived in that old house for years, and are utterly useless in helping her.
With nowhere else to turn, Kat seeks help from a haunted painting of a man Anesthesia Hangbody formerly abducted.
Eventually, Kat takes matters into her own hands and fights off Anesthesia Hangbody with a little help from the asylum inmates and the talking painting, all of whom are tired of Ms. Hangbody's abuse.
With a fiery pyrotechnic show, the haunted painting and the inmates finish off Anesthesia Hangbody once and for all. Then Thomas, Kat and the inmates celebrate as the former Ms. Hangbody's portrait is added to the wall.
It was a great show and such a privilege to hang out with the incredibly talented cast and crew afterward! There are a few more drawings I decided to rework a bit after scanning, so stay tuned for more drawings from Halloween 313.
Yesterday I went to Fort Greene Park for the 16th Annual Great PUPkin Dog Costume Contest hosted by Fort Greene PUPs. As I expected, it was a hilarious event with many creative costumes. There were over one hundred entrants and they went by pretty fast, so it was a good challenge! Here are some of the dogs I drew! The winners were Ira Glass in first place, the G train in second, and third was Devo, who unfortunately I didn't draw. As always, please do not print or reproduce these without permission! If you see your dog and would like to purchase a print, or would like to use the drawings for some other purpose, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!
My friend Audrey went and drew at the Tomkins Square Park Dog Parade on the same day - For more cuteness, check out her adorable and hilarious drawings!
Well, my daily blogging has officially become a thing of the past. Due to this hectic thing called life, I'm afraid I must slow the posts to a minimum of one per week. Monday I visited Central Park with my friend Audrey to draw at the Bethesda Fountain. There is so much going on in the park. While we drew, there was an opera singer performing behind us, and at least three pairs of models/photographers doing their thing. When I first arrived, there was a guy in a spiffy suit and nifty red socks playing the saxophone, but the opera performance behind us was apparently too much competition for him and, regrettably, he left before I had the chance to draw him.
The fountain sculpture was designed by Emma Stebbins in 1868. Stebbins was the first woman to receive a commission for a major public work of art in NYC. Pretty cool! The sculpture is also known as "Angel of the Waters" and refers to the Gospel of John where an angel blesses the pool of Bethesda, giving it healing powers. The four cherubs below the angel are supposed to represent temperance, purity, health and peace. I can get behind three of those symbols (hint: none of them are temperance).