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Every Person in New York Paperback – August 18, 2015

4.8 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"In 400+ pages and 30,000 people, Jason presents a big-hearted and humanistic picture of the city. He draws at museums and on the subway, he draws his friends in loving detail and celebrities in unposed real-time situations, like Yoko Ono walking up the block away from him. There are food people (including some of us at LP, though that's boring) like Mario Batali on his Vespa (which is how you usually catch a glimpse of him in the city), Danny Bowien on his cell phone, Padma Lakshmi flagging a cab down while holding a baby, and Amanda Hesser at a food talk with Josh Russ Tupper and Dorie Greenspan and Sam Sifton. There is a certain thrill in recognizing somebody in the pages of the book, but it's the unknown train snoozers and the myriad of cab drivers drawn from the back seat that make up the bulk of the pleasure it delivers. There's a thousand names and faces you might not recognize, and finding out who those people and why they ended up in the book requires paying attention, which Jason has been doing for years, pen and pad in hand. Getting to flip through years of his work at home, freed from seeing it on Instagram, and being able to look as closely and for as long as I like, has been one of the chief pleasures of my summer, which is all a long way to say: I think you will like this book." - Lucky Peach

"In 2008, Jason Polan set himself the challenge of drawing every person in New York. Like Sufjan Stevens's aim to make 50 albums of the United States, it was essentially an impossible project, but what's come out of it is undoubtedly a success. The artist and Cut collaborator has drawn an impressive 36,000-plus people to date, and those sketches are all compiled in Every Person in New York, along with a foreword by Kristen Wiig. It's out on August 18, with a key addendum to its title: Volume 1.Thumb through a copy to find sketches and scrawled captions of New Yorkers waiting in line, subway riders, famous faces, and, if you've been to New York City in the last seven years, maybe even yourself." - New York magazine

"In 2008, illustrator Jason Polan set out to capture the enormous human poetics compressed in Gotham's geographic smallness by drawing every person in the city. The first seven years of this ongoing project, totaling drawings of 30,000 people, are now collected in Every Person in New York - a marvelous tome of Polan's black-and-white line drawings, colored in with the intense aliveness of a city where, as E.B. White wrote more than half a century earlier, 'wonderful events are taking place every minute.' What emerges is a kind of poetry - fragmentary glimpses of ideas and images, commanded by an internal rhythm to paint a complete whole of this human hive." - Brain Pickings

About the Author

Jason Polan is an illustrator whose work has been published in the New Yorker, Metropolis magazine, and in the New York Times as part of a weekly column. He has exhibited work internationally and has also drawn every piece of art in the Museum of Modern Art, twice. He lives in New York, of course.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 408 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books (August 18, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1452128235
  • ISBN-13: 978-1452128238
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #77,114 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Passau TOP 1000 REVIEWER on August 18, 2015
Format: Paperback
I have lived in NYC for a decade and I am always interested in new ways to experience the city. Everyday in just walking around the city I probably pass by hundreds of people. I see them go by me but I don’t really notice any details about them. In this book Polan attempts to draw every person in NYC and he has drawn thousands of people since starting this project some seven years ago. Because of this book I see NYC through a different lens.

Polan's drawings are of people passing by on a street corner, or in a museum or of people sitting someplace eating lunch, etc, etc. The sketches have captions of the date, or the place drawn, and sometimes what the people are doing to help you envision the people that he has drawn. He also drew several celebrities that he has seen around the city. The length of his time that he has to view each person impacts his drawing. A person he draws waiting for a train may result in a rushed, simple drawing because he only sees them for a few minutes before they move on. But, the hurried nature of the sketch illustrates well the brief amount of time in which he sees that person before they hop on the train. I.e., the brevity of the drawing itself signifies the rushed nature of the encounters we have as New Yorkers who are in constant motion, commuting from one place to the next location.

In contrast, a person sitting at a coffee shop on a laptop may be drawn much more intricately because Polan has time to focus on smaller details of the person, and can therefore make the drawing more elaborate. Also, drawings of people seen on a street corner may be messy and overlapping each other which perfectly illustrates the hurried manner in which people weave into each other in constant motion while walking in crowds through the streets of NY.
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Length: 2:06 Mins
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.

(See more pictures of the book on my blog. Just visit my Amazon profile for the link.
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I love the concept for the book. Also the images capture people doing their thing as opposed to a staged pose. I give props to the artist for trying to capture the person and keeping true to the model and not filling in afterwards if that person moves. Overall it's a great piece of art/book.
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Yo straight up this book is so inspirational, so powerful and so moving that to have it next to your bed or on your bookshelf or in your segway or laminated in your cactus garden is to know perfection. Are you ever wandering around where you live looking at people and going to museums and looking at people in museums and looking at people on the bus? Looking at people and observing is key to the creative process. Every Person in New York is a beautiful thing because it is a pure documentation and celebration of that basic human thing, looking at people. I can't recommend it enough for yourself or for your aspiring artistic cousin, or your friend Mark's cousin who is a magician.
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Format: Paperback
Jason Polan is an incredibly talented, incredibly prolific artist. The title of this book should give you an idea of what an impossibly ambitious project this is, and this is just volume one. You can't expect a guy to draw eight million people all at once. (Though if anyone would ever try, you can bet it would be Polan.)

This book is overflowing with sketches. The sheer volume of drawings is unbelievable, and the variety is terrific. These illustrations range from detailed portraits to just a few descriptive (and occasionally not so descriptive) lines to entire scenes. There are tons of celebrities (some who apparently obliged Polan with an autograph) and countless ordinary folks, all going about their day. Apparently there are over 30,000 drawings in this book, but there are probably more than that in Polan's full illustration of the stadium at a Mets game alone. There's also casual but attentive-to-detail documentation to go along with much of the book in the form of hand-written notes about these subjects, including dates and sometimes background information that enriches the whole experience. Paging through this book feels a lot like sitting next to the artist while he's capturing the moment. It's really something special. The book design is elegant and beautiful and perfectly matched to Polan's particular style. It's simple and free of frills, but also very thoughtful at the same time.

I own a lot of art books, and this is unlike anything else in my collection. This is a life drawing book, but don't expect photorealism. It would be impossible to capture what Polan has achieved here without a quick, expressive style. You never know how long that man is going to remain asleep on the F train, or how long it's going to take that woman to eat her burrito at Taco Bell. But there is an undeniable sense of environment and humanity in these pages. And hey, where else can you find a book that you might actually be in? Buy it and have a look for yourself.
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