by Bill Batson
On June 16, 2012, over 100 artists flocked to Nyack to join the Flash Sketch Mob. Situated every 12 paces along both sides of Broadway from Cedar Hill to 2nd Avenue, two hundred hands worked in concert to create a composite landscape portrait of the village. The art works were scanned and projected on the side of a building that night, and added to a digital map. This June 20, the Flash Sketch Mob returns to add Main Street to this growing visual arts atlas of Nyack. Register today!
The goal of the Flash Sketch Mob is to produce a self portrait of the entire village of Nyack created by the residents. Artists of all skill levels and ages are welcome to participate.
The Flash Sketch Mob concept came from a boast I made in a column posted in October, 2011.
Like John Henry, I am at war with a machine. My antagonist is not a steam powered drill, but Google Maps. What my nemesis accomplishes through satellite surveillance and cars equipped with periscope cameras, I endeavor to create with my humble sketch pad and pen. Just like the hero of legend Henry, I will never, ultimately, outlast the machine. What I hope to do is to complete a visual record of every inch, object, vista and structure in my village that will remind us that handmade, no matter how much slower, shakier or flawed, has a greater intrinsic value than the synthetic alternative.
Once I got that hubristic rant out of my system, I realized that I needed one hundred John Henrys to create a representation of our one-square mile village that would rival Google streetviews.
The last Flash Sketch Mob included seasoned artists and the entirely unschooled. Many lapsed artists were encouraged to pick up their implements again. Taking the solitary practice of art making on to the sidewalk inspired many to keep creating. For weeks after the first Flash Sketch Mob, people were seen throughout Nyack engaging in landscape portraiture.
This second Flash Sketch Mob is part of ART WALK 2015, a three-day arts festival organized by Paulette Ross, owner of p.ross boutique. This will be the 10th anniversary of the village-wide cultural event. “This year’s theme, “10 to the 10th power…a decade of art,” can take you back in time or to the future,” said Ross.
Flash Sketch Mob schedule: Saturday, June 20, 2015
- 10:00a: mob at Weld Realty, 4 Park St. to receive grid assignments
- 11:00a: flash to assigned locations along Main St and sketch
- 1:00p: return to 4 Park St. so that art works can be labeled and digitally scanned
- 9:30p: View a pop-up projection of art work created at Flash Sketch Mob 2015 at the corner of Park and Main St.
In large part, the Flash Sketch Mob is an homage to the Hopper Happens festivals organized by Kris Burns. These public art events celebrated the legacy of Edward Hopper on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the Edward Hopper House Arts Center. Hopper Happens included flash mobs, pop-up projections and readings.
The premise behind the Flash Sketch Mob is that the unexamined place is not worth inhabiting. Our careful examination and hand made reproduction of our built and natural environment will create a unique human record. As we sharpen our powers of observation, by joining the Flash Sketch Mob, or examining the perspective that dozens of artists will present of our village, we might become more aware of her needs and more zealous in her defense.
Flash Sketch Mob is supported, in part, by a Community Arts Grant, a local re-grant program of the Arts Council of Rockland made possible with funds from the Decentralization program of the New York State Council on the Arts.
Flash Sketch Mob Gallery 2012
The Flash Sketch Mob members that created this poster are: Barbara Caress (collage), Joseph Giannella (pen and ink), Sue Barrasi (acrylic on board), John Papas (digital art), Tracy Kachtick-Anders (acrylic on poster), Loraine Machlin (pastel on paper), Kris Burns (pastel on paper), Jack White (pen and ink) and Bill Batson (pen and ink).
The Flash Sketch Mob poster and logo was created by Loraine Machlin. The Flash Sketch Mob digital map was created by Ben Falchuk. The Flash Sketch Mob slide show was created by Kris Burns with a soundtrack by John Gromada. Photos by Ray Wright.
Bill Batson is an activist, artist and writer who lives in Nyack, NY. “Nyack Sketch Log: Flash Sketch Mob: 2015” © 2015 Bill Batson. In Dec. 2014, Batson published “Nyack Sketch Log, An Artist and Writer Explores The History of A Hudson River Village.” Copies of the book can be purchased at billbatsonarts.com.