Grace Church in New York
For many years I’ve been drawing current events on the ground, working from life, like the ‘special artists’ of the American Civil War, before cameras were fast enough to permit photojournalism. The drawings are often followed by paintings in the studio based on my observations. My work from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as from US military hospitals, Guantanamo, the BP oil spill in Louisiana, Trump rallies in 2016 and more have been published in Harper’s Magazine.
The similarities with photojournalism end quickly: a drawing takes time to make, and events change quickly. Thus, I must adapt the story I’m telling in real time. I often adds snippets of ambient conversation to the drawing as I work. Sometimes the initial crude and fast drawing is enough, or there’s time to add ink on the spot; other drawings I work up with ink and then watercolor using my own photos taken with my iPhone while drawing to try to convey more fully the effect of the moment.