Saturday, April 21, 2012

Society of Illustrators

I decided to take a figure drawing class while in NY...I looked online in LA and picked one at the Society of Illustrators. Had I known what I was getting into I might have felt intimidated, but ignorance, in this case, was good. 

It was on the Upper East Side, an area of the city I haven't been to in years. The first thing I noticed were all the skinny women walking skinny dogs, and doormen with white gloves.

The Society's been around since 1901. On the way up to the third floor is a pantheon of illustrators on the walls: all white men. No women, no people of color. But upstairs, a blues band was setting up, and a bar with patrons was in full bloom; and talking about bloom, I spotted the model for the evening sitting on a chair sipping her drink. Her name was Tangerine Jones. 

On the second floor, I saw this Thurber, which almost took my breath away. I associate NYC with James Thurber and there he was, a big drawing on the flimsiest of paper, illustrating for us in just a few strokes the dynamics of a family. 

New York is one big illustration, of insanity, of beauty, of ambition and greed. The poorest are laid out on the streets around Penn Station—Bombay's beggars have nothing on the wretchedness of these druggies. The wealthiest are chauffered in shiny SUVs across Park Avenue on their way to Wall Street. Then, you see all the crazies: leftover Occupiers, hanging out in Union Square, looking worse for wear; a woman running through the streets at midnight, yelling for her pimp; a toupeed man screaming on his cellphone, "What other scams can you think up to screw me, Walter?" You see it all in NY; the compactness of the city makes it possible, unlike L.A. where everything's spread out. It's right in your face— the stylish beauty, the ugly poverty, the vastness of humanity.

Some shots of the week:

1 comment:

  1. Crazy NYC - love the doorman, and the model & the drawing, love the little piano dog. Yes, it's all in your face here, that's for sure.