Book Review: Every Person in New York

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In 2008, Jason Polan gave himself a challenge to draw every person in New York. His earlier projects were The Every Piece Of Art in The Museum Of Modern Art Book, An Entire Bag of Popcorn, and Every Person in the Phone Book. The words obsessive and patient come to my mind.

Every Person in New York is a 408-page paperback book that features the sketches of all the people he has drawn so far. There are over 30,000 thousand people in this book. That's why this book is so thick. And I'm quite amazed he actually kept count.

Polan is an artist who lives in New York. Over the last 7 years, he has been sketching New Yorkers whenever and wherever he can. He has drawn at cafes, outside the New York Public Library, the many museums, Apple stores, on the train, at tennis matches, markets, parks, etc. You get the idea.

It's interesting to see the diversity of the people captured in the sketches. There are people sleeping on the trains, marathon runners, dog walkers, lots of pedestrians and even celebrities. Every page is filled with line art ink sketches of people. Some are just simple silhouettes while others have their facial features more fleshed out. The line art is loose and many are like contour drawings. Sometimes, even the bump while the train is moving is recorded in the sketch.

Generally speaking, the style is that of simplicity and because of that this may not be the book for those who are looking for detailed drawings. Because of that, this is a book you can flip through quickly.

This is a fun sketchbook.

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Every Person in New York is available at Amazon (US | CA | UK | DE | FR | IT | ES | JP | CN) and Book Depository

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