homeaboutarchives + tagsnewslettermembership!
aboutarchivesnewslettermembership!
aboutarchivesmembers!

kottke.org posts about Jason Polan

Jason Polan Postage Stamps

posted by Jason Kottke   Apr 28, 2020

The artist Jason Polan passed away in January from colon cancer. A group of his friends are trying to memorialize Polan and his art with a commemorative postage stamp from the USPS. Kelli Anderson created mockups for the stamps.

Jason Polan Stamps

Jason Polan Stamps

Polan loved mail and the USPS. A few years ago at his own expense, he took out a small ad in the New Yorker for the post office:

Jason Polan USPS Ad

FWIW, here’s how the USPS’s stamp selection process works.

Remembering Jason Polan

posted by Jason Kottke   Jan 27, 2020

Jason Polan

New York artist Jason Polan has passed away at the age of 37. The cause was colon cancer. From the NY Times obituary:

Mr. Polan’s signature project for the last decade or so was “Every Person in New York,” in which he set himself the admittedly impossible task of drawing everyone in New York City. He kept a robust blog of those sketches, and by the time he published a book of that title in 2015 — which he envisioned as Vol. 1 — he had drawn more than 30,000 people.

These were not sit-for-a-portrait-style drawings. They were quick sketches of people who often didn’t know they were being sketched, done on the fly, with delightfully unfinished results, as Mr. Polan wrote in the book’s introduction.

“If they are moving fast, the drawing is often very simple,” he wrote. “If they move or get up from a pose, I cannot cheat at all by filling in a leg that had been folded or an arm pointing. This is why some of the people in the drawings might have an extra arm or leg — it had moved while I was drawing them. I think, hope, this makes the drawings better.”

See also obituaries and remembrances from Gothamist and Ghostly. You can check out his blog and buy some of his work from 20x200.

I never met Polan in person — we corresponded via email occasionally, were admirers of each other’s work (I have several of his drawings), and I linked to his stuff sometimes (not enough) — but many of my friends knew him well and are reeling. There was a gentleness, a loving attention, that really came through in his work and in talking with the folks who knew him, that’s the way he was in person too. A kind soul, gone too soon. Rest in peace, Jason.

Update: Polan’s friend and long-time collaborator Jen Bekman posted a lovely tribute to him on 20x200.

Jason noticed. This was his thing. The effortlessness with which he could hone in on a person in the endless stream of the city, pick out just one or two details that made them unique and make art of them. People often asked me if I thought he had a photographic memory, and yea, maybe he did, but it wasn’t really the source of his genius. The source, I think, was his bottomless empathy and interest.

Every Person in New York

posted by Jason Kottke   Jun 11, 2015

Every Person In NY Book

Jason Polan has turned his long-term project to draw each and every person in New York into a book coming out in August. As a long-time Polan fan, I’m looking forward to this.

Dre by Beets

posted by Jason Kottke   Jul 10, 2013

Jason Polan draws Dr. Dre using beet juice.

Dre By Beets

Polan is a favorite…his other art is very much worth checking out.

The Criterion Collection

posted by Jason Kottke   Nov 25, 2008

The Criterion Collection just launched their new web site, complete with the option to watch several movies online. It’s $5 for a week rental and that’s applied toward the cost of the film on DVD or Blu-ray. Not sure about the quality…the excellent intro movie on the home page says “high quality”…not sure if that means HD or what. There are only 17 movies online — including Au Revoir Les Enfants, Solaris, and Lord of the Flies — but they’ll be adding more as time goes on. (thx, jason, who did the illustration for the intro clip)

132 drawings of birds

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 31, 2008

20x200 has a really nice special edition print by Jason Pollan of 132 drawings of birds from the Museum of Natural History. There’s something very old school about this print, like it’s the work of an obsessed 1870s ornithologist.

Drawing all of NYC

posted by Jason Kottke   May 07, 2008

Artist Jason Polan (he of the The Every Piece Of Art in The Museum Of Modern Art Book) is on a mission to draw every single person in New York City. If you’d like to be drawn, drop him a line on where you’ll be, and he’ll show up and sketch you.

Jason Polan, who you may remember from

posted by Jason Kottke   Feb 08, 2008

Jason Polan, who you may remember from the series of drawings he did of every piece of art in the MoMA, has a unique 20x200 offering available. The larger editions are drawings and copies of his hand while the $2000 edition of 2 is described thusly:

I will come to your house and shake your hand. Two of these interactions will be available. After I meet you I will give you a certificate, to be signed by both you and me, stating the authentification of the encounter. This artwork is a collaboration between you and me. You will also receive a photograph that is taken the moment of our meeting.

20x200 curator Jen Bekman has more on this offering.

Jason’s work is about a lot of lofty ideas, but those ideas are grounded in the most mundane of media and happenstance. The ideas center around his ambitions to interact authentically with both the media he chooses to work in and the collectors who buy his work.