[Photo by Jason van Dalen]
Anton van Dalen, the artist who has lived on Avenue A for decades, recently sent me an email with some new drawings.
Throughout March, he said that he worked to put his learning about COVID-19 on paper by pencil.
Here's more from his letter, which he invited me to share along with his work:
My thinking and drawing are intimately linked — it’s my means of coming to understanding.
I have always worked from the perspective of home, then street, neighborhood, city, world. So we learned that COVID-19 came to envelop every dimension of our private and public life.
Events rudely stirred up my still emotionally scarred childhood memories of World War II Holland. And as more and more military language has come to be used to halt the spread of the pandemic.
I wanted my visuals to center on the East Village, and began the drawings at my Avenue A home. But then family and friends, because of my age of 81, thought I should get out of the city.
Came to understand that I should listen to my children and retreat to the countryside of Long Island. Through their generosity I was able to turn my scribbles into accessible drawings.
Throughout my effort I worried about being appropriately thoughtful about this most serious matter. So I learned from family and friends, also daily news reports about the virus and its implications.
But then I also had to integrate mine and everyone’s frightened inner self into the drawings. Still I was concerned, not to be frivolous or satirical, rather keep the subject big, and myself small.