Drawing trash

In the process of my endless rearrangement of my apartment, I managed to reveal a completely bare wall in my living room, one of the few in my home, and realized it called out for a big square painting. I mentioned this emptiness to my pal, Tommy Kane, and yesterday he appeared with one of his masterpieces, a lovely canvas of the Lone Ranger. Tom even hung it, as perfectly as only such a talented art director could do.

It was a beastly hot day, so, once the ladders and hammers were put away, we decided to visit the NY Sanitation Department’s maintenance garage on the banks of the Hudson River. We set up our folding armchairs in the shadow of some especially fragrant trucks and unwrapped ham and cheese croissants. After lunch, we broke out the drawing gear and spent an hour or two drawing the grimy complexity of rows of ailing trucks.

Tom is capable of spending weeks drawing a single scene so I tend to take my time too whenever I draw with him. As a result, these drawings tend to be very thick with lines, dark, layered, probably overworked. But there’s nothing like sitting with an old buddy in a garbage garage parking lot on a sweltering day, pen in one hand, book in the other, croissant crumbs in one’s whiskers, cawing seagulls overhead. Try it sometime.

Sketchcrawl survivor

Tom Kane and I met up just after 8 am at the L train station and traveled into WiIliamsburg, Brooklyn. The day was cold and intermittently rainy but we were fairly well provisioned though Tom was much impressed by my folding stool (too bad I didn’t bring it to the Met last weekend) and vowed to get his own.
We spend most of the day in industrialized parts of the neighborhood and occasionally ducked into coffee shops or bars to shelter from the elements and fortify ourselves. I decided to work just in black and white and to intensify my cross-hatching. Tom is a master of detailed shading and I followed his lead.
All in all, it was a very satisfying experience, though utterly depleting. We were both completely wiped out after nine hours of drawing outdoors and felt old and stiff from the wet ground and the grey skies. Can’t wait to try it again, hopefully in warmer weather.


Tom Kane just sent me his lovely drawings from our odyssey. As you can see, he fills every inch of the page and is a committed cross hatcher (R.Crumb said, ” drawing is just an excuse to crosshatch”). He draws with a fairly ordinary roller ball pen and his work has a lot of energy and life and humor. I like the way he vignettes his drawings like old photos. A very talented fellow, old Tom.
Like ’em? Tell Tom.