North Adams Transcript on New York Drawings- "quiet portraits of a jarring existence"

“The Kiosk: Snoopy, New York City and the human condition” / North Adams Transcript / John Seven / December 6, 2012

Gathering up cartoonist Adrian Tomine's illustration work for the New Yorker - there are a few comics, but this is mostly an examination of covers and spots for accompanying articles - the handsome art book "New Yorker Drawings" often get to the root of Tomine's world view as applicable to New York City and the urban experience together. So much of his work acknowledges that people are all in it together, and yet each individual is his or her own universe within the multiverse we call a city.
Tomine's illustration depicts a world where our personal perceptions are both separate from and integral to our shared ones. His work often incorporates two people, many of whom are either not acknowledging the central shared point between them, or clandestinely offering attentions to another person even as that other person is absorbed in his or her own moment.

These are quiet portraits of a jarring existence, and the components gather to present New York City as an organism as complex as any human.

In the most mesmerizing section of the book, Tomine's sketches of the city are presented with his handwritten observations of the person he draw. He makes note of the physical indications of mood and interest, and then speculates on the internal. One sweaty guy is either deep in thought or staring at his expensive shoes.

Tomine suspects one girl of knowing that he was drawing her by the way she abruptly leaves the subway train. Much like so many of the people depicted in his drawings, these are interactions without interacting, and that is so much of urban life.

 

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