Monday, December 10, 2012

Postcards from Amsterdam


A while back I posted about a wedding I attended as designated draftsman: an illustrated affair. The groom in that operation was Michael Hirshon, a web designer/illustrator and former student. At time I noted that Mike and Robin were moving to Amsterdam, on the strength of her Fulbright. Recently I got some nice notes via the comment section from family members. Of Mike I wrote at the time, "I'm already looking forward to [his] reportage drawing from that very picturesque city."

As expected, Mike has delivered some wonderfully seen images. At the top of this post, an earthmover working to shore up the sides of a canal. He writes:
At the end of every journey I have the pleasure of returning home through the massive construction project in front of my apartment. The walls of the canal need rebuilding and so half the street has been completely removed. It’s a fascinating process. The wall is dismantled, as layers of brick, dirt, wood, and pipes are stripped away. A temporary wall is installed outside of the newly created ditch, and all of the water is pumped out — this gives the workers a dry area to work on the new wall. I frequently find myself staring out my window to watch giant machines yank ancient polders from mud like teeth, and even more giant machines drive huge metal wall panels into the canal.
The spacing of the paving stones tells the tale. The open spot at left reads like a black abcess, an affront to masons everywhere.


A bike-friendly city.


A study in vehicles.

An aside: About ten years ago I taught a workshop in Florence to sophomore art students, a notoriously tricky cohort. They don't want instruction, exactly, but they don't know how to make anything yet. It seemed to me that the challenge was to come up with tricky/engaging project prompts. Mike's drawing of the various cars reminds me of one such attempt. I remember asking one student to create a taxonomic chart accounting for the evolution of wheeled vehicles in Florence. As if they had been bred. (I asked another to create an illustrated pamphlet or poster proving through diagrams that space aliens had built the duomo, or Florence's famous cathedral, topped by Brunelleschi's dome. Poor kid nearly had a nervous breakdown. He finished well a few years later, a graphic designer in our program.)

I'm a sucker for vehicles, myself. Readers of Spartan Holiday No. 1 will have learned of the Northeast Side Car Drawing Club I co-founded with Alan Reichel and Chris Midgeley in the third grade. It was awesome.


The spread in question,  from No. 1., "Shanghai Pictorial."

Great to see that Mike is busy drawing the world from his new vantage point. Keep it coming!

2 comments:

Eric said...

*digs through a few dusty folder hierarchies* ... ah ha! I figured I might have that old thing stashed away somewhere.

Weirdly, this project actually crossed my mind earlier today, during a conversation I was having about pig latin.

Ten years!

—eric (still learning how to make things)

DB Dowd said...

Eric! Thanks for the note. See reply post here:

http://ulcercity.blogspot.com/2012/12/taxonomy-florentine.html

Still learning myself. That's what makes it a fun activity over such long stretches of time!