Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Tableau Vivant

On Tuesday night, Greg Walloch invited me to see and draw Sarah Small's Tableau Vivant of the Delirium Constructions (a live exploration of implausible interaction), an event billed on the program as a "performance, party, experiment and wedding." Presented in the bank building at One Hanson place in Brooklyn, right next to the Atlantic Center--a building familiar to most folks nowadays as the sometimes home of the Brooklyn Flea Market. Small's Tableau was that rarest of things--a singular, extended but ephemeral experience that defies description. If you don't know what a Tableau Vivant is, you can check out Wikipedia's summary over here.

There were a lot of folks present who took pictures and I know the whole experience was filmed (aren't all weddings filmed nowadays?), but I doubt anything can do justice to the sheer experience which was beautiful both visually and aurally, moving and sublime. (The New York Times gives a shot at reviewing the un-reviewable here.)

The complete set of my drawings from the event are posted over at the Facebook Fan Page for Just Drawn That Way (link over on the side). Anyone who I drew and wants to tag themselves should feel free to go over there and do it . . .

Friday, May 20, 2011

Scents and Scentsability

So, the other day Mayor Bloomberg--the billionaire leader who prides himself on riding to work on the subway most days--chastised a reporter asking a question by saying that there aren't that many panhandlers left on the subway.


I'm not going to debate the point except to say that he's right only if you don't include all the folks asking for money.

The very night Mayor Bloomberg stepped firmly onto his tongue and shoved his foot down his throat--ok, I might debate the point a little--I rode home from Joe's Pub late. I managed to get a seat on a fairly crowded late night train (late night trains are fewer and further between nowadays, so they're a lot more crowded than they used to be). Upon taking my first breath on the train, I abruptly realized that seats were plentiful due to the presence of a homeless person and their accompanying funk.

Rather than complain and leave, I looked up and drew the above and I dedicate the sketch to Mayor Bloomberg's vision of the MTA. It's a nice story.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Visions and Legacies

There was a time when I drew a lot of dancers.

I spent about two years of that period in the studio with the Martha Graham Dance Company as they sought to emerge from a crippling series of lawsuits and work stoppages that characterized the decade following Graham's death. It was a thrilling time for me--I met a lot of great people and I was exposed to an amazing vocabulary of movement and concepts that inform my work to this day.

A lot of friends have been sending me the link to today's Google masthead which celebrates what would be Graham's 117th birthday with an elegant, simple and simply terrific animation by Ryan Woodward. I love it. (Also--if you haven't seen it--you should check out Woodward's animation to a song by the Weepies--a band that has a completely different video, Red Red Rose, that debuted this week in which--coincidentally--I and my work have supporting roles.)

The image that accompanies this post is a montage of some of my Graham drawings that I put together a few years back for a show at the Fall Cafe.

I don't draw dancers as much as I used to; the Graham Company today is different from the company I worked with; The Fall Cafe is in its final days. The life of an artist is like the life of anybody--we live out our days by negotiating our way through successes and failures. We do the best we can. Martha Graham created an entire art-form in her dogged insistence on pursuing an idiosyncratic vision of what dance could be despite an entire universe of resistance. Martha did alright; Martha changed the world.

I salute her on this, the anniversary of her birth. She remains an inspiring figure.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

The Reason

I moved to New York City a little over eleven years ago and have filled hundreds of notebooks with drawings in the time since. These notebooks sit in a locked cabinet in the studio I share with the photographers Allison Michael Orenstein and Bernie DeChant. They just sit there.

A few weeks back I saw a stop-motion animation for a song by the Yellowbirds called The Rest of My Life, made by the song's writer and Yellowbirds mastermind, Sam Cohen. I was knocked out by it and invited Sam to come by the studio and help himself to any of the drawings in my cabinet as source material for another video. He spent a couple of days going through my sketch books and I spent a couple of days scanning, printing, coloring and re-scanning and this video is what we came up with. It debuted today over at NPR and I couldn't be prouder and more excited about it.

It's funny timing really for this particular project. This period of drawing started when my Mom died and my life changed directions. It so happens that this weekend marks the twelfth anniversary of my mother's passing and so, I dedicate my portion of this work (as I often do) to my Mom as a Mother's Day present.

I miss you, Mom. This is what I've been up to since you left.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

On Broadway

A few weeks back, I got to attend and draw the final rehearsals and previews for Priscilla Queen of the Desert as the cast and crew readied themselves for Broadway.

Over the years, I've had the privilege of sitting in on a number of Broadway rehearsals. It's always a charged atmosphere, a potent mix of talent, adrenaline, ego and anticipation moving forward to a common goal that is the stuff of showbiz legend; a Broadway Opening Night.

The Tony nominations were announced this morning and Priscilla was shut out and that's too bad. They're a fine bunch of folks--the best Broadway crew I've had the privilege of working with and I salute them here in my small way with a small sampling of the drawings I created as I watched them work.