ARTisSpectrum | Volume 29 |
Anna Narday
I traveled to New York City in the fall of 2011 to celebrate a birthday. We planned a visit to the MOMA, the Metropolitan Museum of
Art, a night at Birdland jazz club, and plenty of good cuisine. I guess you could say our trip was all pretty stereotypical for a weekend in
the Big Apple. Seeing great art, hearing great music and eating great food are all so easy to do in New York City! When visiting the city,
it’s hard not to feel as though you already know the city, as films, television and music have all influenced my impressions. Our itinerary
for the trip read like a page out of a guide book, and I suppose all these things inspired me as an artist when I started painting from
pictures I had taken during my visit. However, the true inspiration was the city itself. In a spur of the moment decision, we took a tour
of the city on one of the Yellow Bus Line tours, and there on the upper deck of a double decker bus, I started seeing the city that would
inspire me to paint in a way I had not done in years. It was a brilliant day. Sunny, cloudless blue skies and the incredible architecture of
old and new, both modest and ostentatious, stood out in stark relief at times and quietly drew my eye at other times. Iconic images of
New York comfortably rub shoulders with ordinary life, and hold their own with recent contemporary designs: towering skyscrapers that
make you dizzy as you put your head straight back to take in their precipitous heights, the majesty of the Brooklyn Bridge standing like
an ancient gateway, ready to rebuff all foes if necessary, and the Neo-Gothic beauty of St. Patrick’s Cathedral. The ride through New
York, left me breathless at times. Block after block offered up the most beautiful or sometimes jarring images: the quiet, untold story of
an open doorway in a field of red brick, or the bisected, distorted image of a building of stone reflected by a tower of glass.
I took over 100 pictures on that trip and I could have taken more. When I went through them at home, I found a handful of photos
that captured the light, color, line and shadows that inspired my recent series Views. The paintings I’ve done and continue to do are
not true representational images of New York; rather, I hope they capture the excitement, wonder and diversity of this incredible city. It
was surprising to me that the most touristy thing we did yielded the most wonderful views of a city I love. New York is like that: open
yourself to what it has to offer and you will be amazed at how it affects, and in some cases, changes, you.
“I started seeing the city that would inspire me to paint in a way I had not done in years”
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