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.
Wishing a very happy anniversary to friends Jenn + Nick Vigliotti! I am honored to have been commissioned by Nick to do this piece for their first anniversary. It is based off a photo taken on their honeymoon at Montefioralle Winery in the village of Greve in Chianti, Italy. Apparently this winery has a painting contest every year - artists meet at the winery, partake in a complementary wine tasting, and spend the day painting the premises. Winners receive cases of wine and their work reproduced on a limited edition bottle. I know where I'm going on my next vacation!
In honor of Independence Day, I'd like to share a few drawings of the Mayflower II done on location in Plymouth MA last weekend.
Although the tradition of Independence Day was born of the Revolutionary War, the seeds of our country's independence were first planted on September 6th 1620 when the Mayflower set sail from Plymouth England carrying 102 "brave" (or certifiably insane, depending on how you look at it) passengers looking to start a new life.
After two agonizing, stormy months at sea, cramped in dank conditions below deck, the colonists arrived in the New World. Five passengers perished at sea, and during the first winter more than half of the colonists died from malnutrition, disease, and harsh weather.
Two women gave birth on the Mayflower; Elizabeth Hopkins gave birth to a son, Oceanus during the journey, and Susanna White gave birth to a son Peregrine while the ship was anchored in Cape Cod Harbor.
It's believed that none of the colonists would have survived the first winter without the help of the local Wampanoags, who taught the colonists how to hunt, fish, and grow corn, beans and squash.
So today, while we celebrate our independence and recognize the people who risked their lives to found this country, we should really be recognizing and thanking the Native Americans, whose generosity and respect for life helped many of our ancestors survive the first few years here (and who, not long after, faced genocide and were forced out of their homelands at the hands of the colonists, leading to hundreds of years of systemic oppression which continues to be perpetuated to this day).
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!
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!
Here's another one from Fort Greene Park last weekend!