Drawn to New York: An Illustrated Chronicle of Three Decades in New York City

Drawn to New York: An Illustrated Chronicle of Three Decades in New York City

by Peter Kuper
     
 

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A declaration of love to Peter Kuper’s adoptive city in which he has lived since 1977, this diary is a vibrant survey of New York City’s history. Through Kuper’s illustrations, this book depicts a climb to the top of the Brooklyn Bridge, the homeless living in Times Square, roller skaters in Central Park, the impact of September 11, the luxury of

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Overview

A declaration of love to Peter Kuper’s adoptive city in which he has lived since 1977, this diary is a vibrant survey of New York City’s history. Through Kuper’s illustrations, this book depicts a climb to the top of the Brooklyn Bridge, the homeless living in Times Square, roller skaters in Central Park, the impact of September 11, the luxury of Wall Street, street musicians, and other scenes unique to the city. With comics, illustrations, and sketches, this work of art portrays everything from the low life to the high energy that has long made people from around the world flock to the Big Apple.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This collection of sketchbook pages and finished art brilliantly displays Kuper’s fascination with the city he has called home for over four decades. Lovingly reproduced in b&w and color from a variety of mediums, the art focuses on tiny people trying to survive in the vast metropolis. Some pieces emphasize N.Y.C.’s vitality, and Kuper’s characters can’t imagine living anywhere else; still the place looks more threatening than attractive as individuals become part of geometric patterns while buildings wear anguished expressions. Demonstrating how vulnerable humans are when they’re packed so closely together, the people here are victims of real-estate tycoons, politicians—and their own selfishness and greed, as seen in an illustrated version of Jonathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal.” A near-masterpiece of New York cultural anthropology. (June)
From the Publisher

"Working in a variety of formats from watercolor to ink to paint, collage and pencils, Peter Kuper creates a deep, brilliant, beautiful, and colorful history of his time in New York City. The stories ring with humor, insight and tragedy."  —Mark Squirek, New York Journal of Books

"That, perhaps, is the sign of a great New Yorker, and especially a great New York artist: The ability to love the city not despite its grit but because of it, to inhabit its struggles with dignity rather than disgust, with empathic curiosity rather than cruel gawking." —Maria Popova, Brain Pickings

"This collection of sketchbook pages and finished art brilliantly displays Kuper’s fascination with the city he has called home for over four decades."  —Publishers Weekly

"As a cartoonist and graphic novelist, Kuper's art reflects the sequential grid that is Manhattan. Each window tells a story, and the rows of squares and infinite right angles form a map of one man's journey through the modern labyrinth. When viewed as a whole, Kuper's concrete visions of New York amount to an epic love poem."  —Eric Drooker

"Peter Kuper captures the city in various media with his vibrant and colorful art showing every facet of the ever-changing city from the bankrupt days of the late 1970s to its present state, chronicling and celebrating it." —Anne Telford, Illustration Voice

"Drawn to New York is Peter Kuper's New York, and anybody who's spent any time here, physically or otherwise, will recognize the energy and architecture, the grime and crowds, the beautiful humanity, the foods, odors, and sights. Love it or not, there's no place on Earth quite like New York City, and few people have captured it as effectively as Kuper." —www.newsarama.com

"A showcase of city and artist, with an interesting interplay between the two . . . the city shaped him. And in return, Kuper continues to pay tribute by making art that adds to the city’s ever-evolving mythos."  —www.adastracomix.com

"Since illustrator Peter Kuper moved to New York City in 1977, he has witnessed countless incarnations of the Big Apple. His new book [...] collects comics, art and illustrations reminiscing on everything from taxi redesigns to pornographic movie theaters. [...] In this gallery, Kuper shares with Bookish fond memories of his adoptive home alongside selected art from the book."  —Bookish

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781604868227
Publisher:
PM Press
Publication date:
06/01/2013
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
208
File size:
15 MB
Note:
This product may take a few minutes to download.

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Read an Excerpt

Drawn to New York


By Peter Kuper

PM Press

Copyright © 2013 Peter Kuper
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-60486-822-7


PREFACE

"Don't you see the rest of the country looks upon New York like we're left-wing, communist, Jewish, homosexual pornographers? I think of us that way sometimes and I live here."

-Woody Allen


I first visited New York in the summer of 1968, when I was nine. My uncle had the role of Lazar Wolf, the butcher, in the Broadway musical Fiddler on the Roof.

He brought my family in from Cleveland, Ohio and put us up in a hotel steps away from Times Square. Here was my first Broadway play and we got to go backstage to meet all the actors - thrilling!

From there he took us to Maxwell's Plum – a famous dessert joint (long since demolished).


After our ice cream sundaes, as we stood out front sweating in the humid night, my father pointed out an inebriated driver nodding in his car while waiting at a red light. In front of him was an ESSO gas truck, with "Highly Flammable" emblazoned on the back bumper. The light changed and the traffic began creeping forward. Only the drunk driver sat stationary, now passed out on his steering wheel.


Between gas truck and drunk was a man in a Pontiac trying to exit his parking space. Behind the drunk a line of taxis began beeping angrily. Roused briefly by the blaring horns, the drunk slumped forward and in doing so, slammed his foot on his gas pedal, plowing into the bumper of the Pontiac. His wheels spun and smoked as he pushed the Pontiac sideways, clearing his path towards the gas truck. My father flew into action, sprinted to the drunk, and dragged him out just before he could push past and meet exploding destiny.


Clearly New York was a dangerous place where terrible things could happen, but also a place that could turn ordinary people into superheroes. On that sweltering August night, amid the roaring swirl of Manhattan's manic energy, I decided I wanted to move to this city as soon as possible.

It took ten years, but on June 22nd, 1977, I stepped off a train at Grand Central ready to become a New York animator. I had visited during spring break and gone door to door to animation houses offering to do anything art-related. This would be my entry point, which would quickly lead to me becoming a star cartoonist-animator. The plan wasn't exactly formed, but amazingly I got a job offer working at Zander Studios that summer on a feature-length Raggedy Ann movie.

In the summer of 1977, New York City was bankrupt. Times Square was run-down and dangerous at night, subways were decrepit, with floor-to-ceiling graffiti and no air-conditioned cars in the underground roast. A garbage strike left mountains of uncollected trash and evil-looking rats scurrying underfoot. A serial killer, Son of Sam, terrorized the city and when a blackout hit in July, looters tore up the town.

I was in heaven.

When I finally got past the secretary at Zander's to see the studio boss he looked at me with a blank expression. The job offer had vanished, since Raggedy Ann was completed and the animation industry was in a downward turn. He shook my hand and told me to call him in six weeks. I called him every six weeks until he stopped answering his phone.

Though I never did become an animator, New York opened the door to the world of illustration and cartooning. It wasn't by accident that the earliest comic strip creators and illustrators migrated to New York and created thriving industries. This was where the work was, but just as important, this was where their inspiration bloomed, and so does mine.

New York has changed tremendously since I arrived, Something everyone who's ever lived here could be quoted as saying – no matter when they came. This city is change. That's its glory - it's a perpetually unfinished canvas, offering up possibility to each successive wave of artists.

Drawn to New York is a portrait of this city I love, both its darkness and light. Instead of a chronological narrative I've juxtaposed the city's surface glitter with its darker underbelly - homeless people in Times Square and skaters in Central Park, the devastation of 9/11 and the bustle of daily life. This book is a reflection of thirty-four years on twelve miles of island with eight million people in a city whose story is ever being written.

-Peter Kuper

November, 2012


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Drawn to New York by Peter Kuper. Copyright © 2013 Peter Kuper. Excerpted by permission of PM Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"The island of skyscrapers, the Mecca of cities, and well-known capital of the world, is the backdrop of this colorful odyssey of Peter Kuper and marks a triumph in his already successful career. Drawn To New York is a perfect choice while listening to 'New York, New York,' though not played by Sinatra."  —Rolling Stone (Mexico)

"Kuper is a colossus; I have been in awe of him for over 20 years."  —Junot Díaz, Pulitzer Prize–winning author, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

"Kuper has long been among the most politically engaged and stylistically distinctive artists working in comics, and both qualities take center stage here. An artist at the top of his form."  —Publisher's Weekly

"As a cartoonist and graphic novelist, Kuper's art reflects the sequential grid that is Manhattan. Each window tells a story, and the rows of squares and infinite right angles form a map of one man's journey through the modern labyrinth. When viewed as a whole, Kuper's concrete visions of New York amount to an epic love poem."  —Eric Drooker

"One of the strongest and truest radical voices to emerge from contemporary America."  —Alan Moore, author of Watchmen and V for Vendetta

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Meet the Author

Peter Kuper is a cofounder and editorial board member of political graphics magazine World War 3 Illustrated and a teacher who has taught at New York's School of Visual Arts and Parsons the New School for Design. Best known for drawing Mad magazine's Spy vs. Spy comic since 1997, he has also illustrated covers for Newsweek and Time magazine. He is the author of the graphic novel Sticks and Stones, which won the New York Society of Illustrators Gold Medal, and Diario de Oaxaca: A Sketchbook Journal of Two Years in Mexico. He lives in New York City. Eric Drooker is a third generation New Yorker, born and raised on Manhattan Island. His paintings are frequently seen on covers of the New Yorker magazine, and hang in various art collections throughout the United States and Europe. He is the author of two graphic novels, Blood Song: A Silent Ballad, which won the American Book Award, and Flood! A Novel in Pictures. He lives in Berkley, California.

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