BACKSTORY, MARCH 2018Posted: March 7, 2018
When I first moved to Manhattan in December, 1997 I got into the habit of doodling on the back of business cards, just to give me something to do while sitting at the bar. The format stuck.
All I had when I first got to New York were 2 suitcases, a couple of cardboard boxes full of stuff, a reservation at the YMCA, and a 10-day freelance copywriting gig at a Midtown advertising agency.
My life for the next couple of weeks was going to work, walking around the city, and staggering back to the YMCA once the bars closed. Lots of alcohol and coffee shops. Lot of weird people. Being hit five times a day by this strange desire to laugh, sing and cry simultaneously. At times like these, there’s a lot to be said for an art form that fits easily inside your coat pocket.
The freelance gig turned into a permanent job. I stayed in town for the next two years. The first month in New York for a newcomer has this certain amazing magic about it that is indescribable. Incandescent lucidity. However long you stay in New York, you pretty much spend the rest of your time there trying to recapture that feeling. Chasing Manhattan Dragon. I suppose the whole point of the cards initially was to somehow get that buzz onto paper.
Twenty years later, and I’m still on it. I’ve drawn thousands and thousands of them. I never monetized them, not really, I had to do other things to make a living.
Frankly I’m glad it worked out that way- it’s nice to have pretty much the entire body of work intact as a single whole. It gives the work a magnitude it simply wouldn’t have if the series was all broken up and scattered.