May 23, 2010

Hasidic Brooklyn


Recently I bought a bicycle. Now when I go and draw I don't use my car. I've discovered different neighborhoods to draw because of bike paths. I'm taken through places I ordinarily wouldn't have traveled. There is a war waging between the Hasidic community and the bikers. Seems that the way to get in and out of Williamsburg flows through the major Hasidicville. The Hasidic are even painting out the bike paths. As I was spinning through there the other day on the Sabbath, I noticed an amazing building. I set my bike to the side and stood on the street staring at it. There was a problem. The streets were filled with Hasidic families strolling the boulevards as they do each Saturday. I felt like an intruder. A bike intruder no less. What should I do? Should I just leave them alone and go away. I was transfixed by the building. If I set up my stool and start drawing are they going to be hostile towards me? I made my choice. I unfolded my stool and began. As the drawing grew a bit, something unexpected happened. I was mobbed. They stood 5 deep trying to get a look at what I was doing. Everyone wanted to talk to me. They told me it was the home of a very famous rabbi. Everyone was dressed to the nines in their fur hats and suits. The kids went crazy. There would be 25 at a time crowded around me. Jostling, pushing and shoving. They gave me no space and constantly asked questions. Did I go to art school? Where do I live? What are you going to do with the drawing? Are you going to come back tomorrow? The whole scene was not what I thought would happen. Families gave me their address and asked if I could send a copy. Everyone was so appreciative of my talents. Most people on the street watch me for five minutes and then move on. They would watch sometimes for a half hour without moving. One kid asked if he could bring other kids over. I said sure. Within minutes there were kids all over me. A couple of them took my business card. During the week a Hasidic woman called me and asked if I would do some work for her. She needed some birds and flowers drawn for some plates she was making. She too, wanted to know when I was coming back. It was so crazy. I have to go back there. I would have loved to have filmed it but it is not the kind of situation you can just whip out a camera. Stay tuned because I shall return to see what happens next.

15 comments:

Gillian said...

This is a truly beautiful sketch - but what a story!
I would have felt very intimidated in that situation - so- kudos to you. I hope you get a lot of good commissions by being so brave!

Anonymous said...

Awesome. I cant wait for the next chapter in this saga. You have huge ones BTW.
Ed Beard

kane said...

When people are excited about what you are doing it's not intimidating. You need to just slow down and breathe and just do what you would do if nobody was there.

Roadchick said...

What a fabulous house! I want the room in the turret.

Actually, this drawing came at an opportune moment for me - I have a stone/brick wall that I'm drawing and was at a dead loss as to how to deal with the texture without drawing it to death. (Hey, somedays, it just doesn't flow, you know?)

Your bricks, like your experience with the Hasidic, shows how perception can alter perspective. . .and vice versa.

Felicity said...

You obviously have star quality! I love the way you have left part of this unfinished.

kane said...

I left it blank because the Hasidic wore me out.

karen said...

One of the reasons you were mobbed with affection rather than hostility, even though you arrived on a bike, is that you stopped. You saw the neighborhood. You really looked. (Well, and of course you drew!) You didn't just use their neighborhood to whiz through on your way to someplace else.

joseph's art and stuff said...

what a cool experience! great drawing as well!

gitsul said...

You have an awesome attitude. You're an inspiration! Keep doing great work.

dblchin said...

omg! Did u sketch all these??? That is totally awesome! I've been away from art for so long & looking at ur works makes me recall a lot on my art college days!

stefan marjoram said...

What a crazy story - what have they got against bicycles? Terrific sketch as usual. Looking forward to hearing what happens next time.

kane said...

It's not that they are against bicycles. They don't like the sudden onslaught of traffic through their once quiet neighborhood.

Lalalou said...

You have some awesome work! Such a beautiful drawing!

jaz@octoberfarm said...

you must go back! how awesome!

kane said...

My weekends are so busy I just can't find the time