January 17, 2018
Art, politics, angels, demons . . . and righteous dogs.

The Story of a Place Told in 20 Objects

Inspired by Jason Polan‘s pieces in the Sunday NY Times, last week’s assignent in my classes at the School of Visual Arts was to do the same in one’s own style. Some of the results were so intriguing and, in a way groundbreaking, I wanted to post them.

See how many of these things you can identify and identify with, especially here in a new context.

More to come.

Yao Xiao tours her neighborhood in Queens.

Jenny Chang takes a walk down St. Marks Place.



Paul Tuller took himself to the Paper Magazine Nightlife awards event (an evening in recognition of achievements in nightclub hosting) and was “discovered” by one of the organizers and wound up with a gig! I love this story! As Woody Allen once said 95% of life is just showing up!


  1. ALEX MCCRAE says:

    Hi Steve,

    First off, I hope you-and-yours were relatively unscathed from the wrath of Hurricane Sandy. Not that I in any way want to minimize, or slough over, the grief, tragedy, and horrific destruction brought to bear upon your other fellow New Yorkers, and New Jersyites. I feel for all you folks.

    On a brighter note, I just loved student Yao Xiao’s visual observations in her Ridgewood/ Queen NY neighborhood. IMHO, this gifted gal is clearly well on her way to a very successful, and rewarding career in illustration, just judging from this motley collection of deftly drawn (and painted) spot illos.

    What a superb feel for design Yao display’s in these whimsical, yet so precisely rendered little gems. Who would have ‘thunk’ that a broken beer bottle could be rendered as almost a thing of beauty? I adore here take on the raccoon, capturing that typical humped back that these frisky urban masked banditos often display, as they make their nightly garbage dumpster runs.

    Student Paul Tuller’s credible effort for the “Paper/ Nightlife Awards”, for me, kind of reflected more the spare, minimalist, linear drawing style of your assignment’s inspiration, i.e., pro illustrator Jason Polan’s piece for the Sunday NY Times, yet still showed a fine, perceptive wit throughout.

    Steve, your Woody Allen quote reminded me of one of my favorite early Allen films, ” Zelig”, where Allen’s schluby, very ordinary, anti-hero magically appears in many of the newsreels, and news photos of the day, cheek-to-jowl w/ many of the major political and cultural ‘players’ of the day. What a hoot.

    Indeed, “95% of life IS just showing up!”.

    (Sadly, that adage didn’t work out so well for Pres. Obama in debate No.1, where he appeared to ‘just show up’… period.)

    Let’s just hope the Dems-leaning voters in those crucial swing states show up, en masse, at the voting booths come next Tuesday. Just sayin’.