Friday, April 24, 2020

Anton van Dalen, drawing in isolation


[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.



























21 comments:

stephen b said...

Exceptional. Unique. I so appreciate the chance to see these.

BagelGuy said...

Hi Anton. These are amazing. Happy to know you and happy to know you are safe and healthy. Looking forward to watching the pigeons run their drills soon ;-)

noble neolani said...

Love these

drew said...

who is this entitled dog walking murderer of 11th and a?

Goggla said...

The artwork is fantastic!

La vie est belle said...

Thanks for sharing your wonderful creative drawings with us!

Unknown said...

I really love Anton's work!! He has a realistic outlook + I appreciate his devotion to the East Village❤️

Anonymous said...

wow, did not know about his work; it's amazing! thank you!

Anonymous said...

These drawings are amazing!!! Made my day.

Anonymous said...

FANTASTIC. KEEP 'EM COMING.

Anonymous said...

Wow! Clearly I've wasted this last month doing nothing but drinking. Excellent work.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful art. Thank you for sharing.

dwg said...

Exceptional and inciteful. An East Village treasure.

Shawn said...

He's the guy on the roof with the white pigeons (doves!) on Avenue A between 10th and 11th.

Be sure to see his other works, like the GIANT pencil drawings of the warzone that was Ave A / 11th back in the 1970s

http://www.antonvandalen.com/nightstreetdrawings.html

This stuff freaked me out, I just love it. The atmospheres he presents.

Keep in mind these drawings are often 30" by 40" one is 40" x 60" my god.

MrNiceGuy said...

These are fantastic -- I'd love to have one to hang on my wall

derek berg said...

Love these!!

Eden Bee said...

Great stuff! And great way to spend this time at home.

tijgertje said...

Thank you for this! was wondering how he was. Have not seen the birds. Great to see the drawings!

Danielle said...

Such a cool visualization of what's happening! Thanks for sharing

Scuba Diva said...

I love these—particularly the last one.

Lola Sáenz said...

Great ones!! Thanks for sharing