Current artists: Amon Azizov, Wei Chen, Qiao Fu, Gao Min, Guo Kun Sheug, Artashes Karslian, Ji Yin Jin, Li Qun, Lin Ruo, Dean Lu, Ren Jien-Guo, Jorge Rivera, Sharif Sadiq, Peter Walsh, Xiang Yue Chuan, Dario Zapata, Zhuang Xuemin

Organized by Peter Walsh, Ongoing.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

NY State Court Issues Temporary Restraining Order Against Park Rules

New York State Supreme Court Justice Martin Schoenfeld has issued a five day temporary restraining order blocking the enforcement of the new park rules, effective immediately.

According to Robert Lederman, president of one of the street artists' organizations, A.R.T.I.S.T., " The injunction prevents the Parks Dept from enforcing the decal marked spots and the numerical limit on artists but does NOT stop them from enforcing the new restrictions in the new rules on distance from trees, monuments, benches, the width of a sidewalk and exigent circumstances."

Judge Schoenfeld has also ordered a "Show Cause Hearing" for Monday morning, August 30, 2010 to hear arguments in the case and to decide on whether to extend the injunction.

See more in Albert Amateau's article in today's Villager: "Art Vendors Suit: Regs are unfair to women, elderly."

To see a copy of the injunction click here:

Artists United files in New York State Court for an injunction against the new NYC park rules arguing the rules discriminate against women, the elderly and the disabled.

Following on the heels of multiple videotape examples of artists being forced to race each other for city-approved vending locations in four New York City parks (Central Park, Union Square Park, Battery Park and the High Line), the artists group Artists United has filed for an injunction against the new rules in New York State Supreme Court.

For details on the new court case see the article by Albert Amateau in Downtown Express, Volume 20, Number 36 / August 25 - September 1, 2010: “Second lawsuit challenges new vendor rules for parks.”

To see video shot by Peter Walsh in Central Park see the July 31, 2010 post on this blog: NYC Mayor Bloomberg Forces Artists to Run for Their Livelihoods.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Session Seven: Sharif Sadiq and Peter Walsh

Sharif Sadiq drawing on Wien Walk in Central Park. Photo by Peter Walsh.
Before coming to the United States about a dozen years ago, artist Sharif Sadiq trained at a traditional art school in Rawalpindi, Pakistan but also had a side gig painting colorful billboards advertising movies.

“The faces could be as large as 30 foot tall,” he says. “We’d paint them in sections in the studio and would only see the completed murals when they were put up in public. The eyes might be five foot across,” he continues stretching his arms out to either side to indicate the remarkable scale of the paintings.

Here in New York, Mr. Sadiq has studied at the Art Students’ League where he won a prize for his work and with the famed Minneapolis-based correspondence school Art Instruction, Inc., best known for their “Draw Me” advertisements in the back of magazines. He has been drawing portraits on Wien Walk in Central Park for about ten years, working mainly on weekends nowadays. Mr. Sadiq and Peter Walsh exchanged portraits on Saturday morning, August 14th, 2010.

Some comments from Peter Walsh:

“Sharif and I had a leisurely drawing session and we chatted at length over coffee as he set up for the day by assembling mattes for soon to be completed commissions. We talked shop over drawing techniques and I admitted that I still used the slower method of laying out the framework of a person’s face first rather than preferred method of the professionals – starting with the eyes and working outward. ‘That’s the original way,’ he says of my strategy, ‘I trained that way too.'

I drew first and am happy with the results although we joked that I made him look a little like artist Jorge Rivera who I drew last week and who was sitting just a few feet away. Sharif made a great smoky and nuanced portrait of me saying, ‘The public likes drawings to be very smooth but you are an artist so I’ll give you something more difficult.’ Thanks Sharif!”

Peter Walsh and Sharif Sadiq exchanging portraits in Central Park, August 14th, 2010.

The drawings will be posted soon.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Private Real Estate and Public Parks

Why? Why did the New York City Parks Department create new rules to restrict artists’ access to public parks? Who would want that to happen?

Today’s New York Times gives us a glimpse of who might have an interest. Directly linking private real estate property values to public parks, the article, “As a Park Runs Above, Deals Stir Below” by Alison Gregor, focuses on equity developments in proximity to the High Line, one of four NYC parks effected by the new park rules. The other parks are Battery Park, Union Square Park and the southern half of Central Park.

Of particular note, not mentioned in the article which doesn’t discuss artists at all, is that the High Line was the site of the first of the recent crackdowns on artists by the Parks Department: the illegal arrests of A.R.T.I.S.T. president Robert Lederman and artist Jack Nesbitt in November and December 2009. The Parks Department was forced to settle out of court for an undisclosed sum.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Twelve Portrait Exchanges Now Complete

Jorge Rivera and Peter Walsh exchange portraits in Central Park, Saturday, August 7, 2010.

This past Saturday, August 7, 2010, on a cool summer morning on beautiful Wien Walk in leafy Manhattan, artists Jorge Rivera and Peter Walsh completed the twelfth portrait exchange of the Central Park Portrait Exchange. Six new drawings (three exchanges) are now included in the Flickr slideshow at the top of this page. If you don’t see the slideshow there, go to the Drawings page listed in the menu on the right hand side of this blog.

Comments from Peter Walsh:

"In a small change up from standard procedure with the project, I drew Jorge first, and then sat for him. We had a very interesting conversation about marriage, divorce, Colombia (he’s from Bogota originally), the legal battle over artists' right to work in the parks and drawing techniques.

When he first arrived in New York City about ten years ago, Jorge worked with charcoal pencils but he says he quickly changed to the small Chinese charcoal sticks that are favored by many of the Chinese artists for their speed in rendering a portrait. I find them to be similar to a Conté crayon except that they are less chalky and a little bit greasier. I still use a hard charcoal pencil, but, learning from the other artists, I now keep them with a shallower point so that I can use the side of the point to lay in shadows quickly  – a very effective technique when time is of the essence.

Jorge has also adopted the popular method of first drawing the eyes of a person completely and then drawing outward. 'The eyes are the life of the drawing,' he says 'You have to begin there.'"