NYCity Visions , May 2016

If you are in NYC come and visit the show !!!

Opening reception May 22, 2016  from 3:00pm to 6:00pm

at Julio Valdez Studio, LLC / Project Space  176 E 106th st. New York, NY 1009



NYCity Visions
By Veronica Lawlor
Parsons School of Design

Every spring and fall semester, the islands of the Dominican Republic and Manhattan become connected, as students from Altos de Chavon come to Parsons School of Design in New York to study. One island culture visiting another: to learn, to experience, and also, to contribute. 

The images in this NYCity Vision exhibit bring the two cultures together through the eyes and the illustrations of these Altos de Chavon students. Some of those who came to study at Parsons stayed only for a semester; others have remained in New York for years. The combination of the two cultures is at once familiar to any New Yorker who has visited the traditionally Dominican neighborhood of Washington Heights, but this exhibit may also offer a better understanding to those NYC natives whose main knowledge of Dominican culture may be where to find the best mofongo in Manhattan.

One hates to generalize when talking about places or people, but certain differences between New York and the Dominican Republic are evident. New York in winter can be cold and grey, and we see in several of these pieces a reflection of (and perhaps, a longing for) the warmer climate and sunnier skies of DR. One piece combines the hot colors of the rainforest with the cool square shapes of an urban environment; another illustration depicts a tropical world hoisted in the arms of Atlas. One can imagine the longing to hold on the soul of the Caribbean in the midst of Rockefeller Center. (Or maybe this is only the projection of this New Yorker, who is very tired of snow.)

We may also read into these illustrations the daily realities that Dominican students must face when trying to thrive in a city with different cultural norms and lifestyles. In one piece, the stitch marks inside a figure create the waters from which that same figure struggles to emerge: perhaps illustrating an intense homesickness. In another illustration, we see the philosophy of the Dominican ahorita meeting the fast pace of the New York minute, depicted by the free flight of a bird constrained by the famous timepiece of Grand Central Station. Others show the icons of the predominantly Christian country of DR surrounded by the brick and mortar religion of Manhattan, and the shapes of a midtown skyscraper turned into a new kind of cathedral. These illustrators use their art to make sense of a new culture through the icons of a familiar one.

But also, we see the people of New York adopted by their visitors, through a visual representation of the greater sense of the human family that seems to be such a Dominican attitude. Characters from the streets of New York City are depicted in illustrations of joyfulness and love, with a celebration and an implicit acceptance of all personalities. This is a New York of dancers, lovers, musicians, and players; a New York of the very old as well as the very young. The city bustles and teams with life and a range of people from the most fashionable to the homeless. It is a celebration. One of the most playful images in the exhibition depicts a Manhattan island made entirely of the faces of its inhabitants. This is the new family adopted by its Dominican visitors – some who stay for a semester, some who’ll stay for a lifetime.

Traditional Dominican culture elevates the family, and Dominicans seem to create family wherever they go. In teaching at Parsons and having the pleasure of working with many Chavon students over the years, I have found myself drawn into the family circle. Students I have worked with at Parsons in the past now teach in the DR send me their own students, who enter my classroom shyly announcing that Orling or Jonathan have sent them to study with me. Like care packages of artistic dreams, they arrive at my door with a heart full of hope and a portfolio full of drawings. And they work! I love to see the determination and drive of the students of Chavon, and they often infect a class with their happiness to be here in this city making art. Their excitement and love for their adopted home may be best expressed by the sweetness of the illustration of the Statue of Liberty enjoying a bouquet of tropical flowers.

As a native New Yorker, I welcome these additions to a city I love, and I hope that some of these Chavon students will stay with us for a long time to come. They bring more than art with them – they bring their unique contributions to the melting pot of cultures that give New York its beauty. 

Perhaps you will see what I see in this exhibit: a celebration of our cultural differences, our commonalities, and our greater human family. (And by the way, in my opinion, for the best mofongo you should stay on the 1 train a little bit longer, and go to the Bronx.)

SVA Portfolio 36

My work along with some awesome and talented classmates has been featured in the SVA Portfolio 36.

You can see the book here 

Cover by Amber Ma and the inside pattern by Katy Stubbs

The Introduction

The pungent soup of images has become more complex, varied and overwhelming in this digital age. It is filled with so many spices and ingredients, it is really indigestible. Tumblr archives and Instagram feeds place the greatest masterpieces (usually unaccredited) cheek by jowl with snapshots of precious new kittens—no one can sense the varnish in the pixels, (it could just be the newest filter) and most people are too distracted to take notice.

Making some sense (or perhaps nonsense-sense) of all of this pictorial excess is the great challenge to our new generation of artists. By ladling from the sloppy soup they will tell us how they feel, what amuses them, and what they need to say, i.e., the truth. But very different from previous generations, the medium is not the message; the content is what is important, as jpeg stacks upon jpeg, ad infinitum.

Figurative artists, illustrators and cartoonists have always had to understand a visual language that communicates without explanation necessary. Today’s new breed must still continue that important tradition. However, the time honored “canon” has been smashed by our mobile devices, and perhaps the common somnambulistic scrolling of images has reduced our once most potent pictures to neutered pap...a tasteless and non-specific broth!

But all is not lost, if these new graduates thought deeply, as they were asked; and if they understand that those who dedicate their lives to “picture making” will always have a place of importance in an image obsessed world. They know we cannot live on “selfies” alone.

A contemporary artist is expected to be international, and not depend on an overarching style (that’s seen as a tad sad nowadays), and most importantly, they must be flexible thinkers, and able to interpret and reflect our quicksilver (and unfortunately often superficial) world.

As you can see from these pages, the future looks bright when it comes to picture making! The skills of these young artists are honed, their voices are original and varied, and the images all speak of our very cacophonous present—while often borrowing some flavors from our collected imagistic past for added heft. I hope you enjoy leisurely looking at these pages as much as I enjoyed making their selection. We all couldn’t be prouder of this visual feast!

I would like to thank the Senior Portfolio Illustration and Cartooning faculty who helped in the selection process; Steve Brodner, Chris Buzelli, T.M. Davy, Frances Jetter, Marvin Mattelson, Keith Mayerson, David Mazzucchelli, Gary Panter, Carl Potts, Yuko Shimizu, Jillian Tamaki and Kali Ciesemier.

We also thank President David Rhodes for his vision and support of this ongoing document.


Chair, BFA Cartooning & BFA Illustration 

School of Visual Arts


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Jung Yeon An

Amanda Aponte

Nelson A. Arroyo

Aimee Brooks

Zachary Brown

Lauren Budney

Michele E. Clarlson

Vanessa Cheng

Hyelin Choi

Noel Crooks

Adar Darnov

Eros Dervishi

Marques Duggans

Stephany Dziegielewski

Emily Evanowski

Jaiquan Fayson

Yader Fonseca

Gabriel Freire

Rebecca D. George

Curtis Godino

Laura Hannema

Catherine Hom

Kevin Hong

Denise Hric

Chung Yi Huang


Hanasafiya Jones

Yog Joshi

Dana (Daeun) Jung

Hyojin Lauren Kang

Min Kyung Kang

Hey Kyung Kim (Skylar H. Kim)

Sooin Kim 

Michele Knafo

Jennifer Kostman

Anna Lam

Jack Lambert

Ellie Lee

Hyerin Lee

Sooyoung Lee

Chloe Suhyun Lim

Edward Lima

Kaylee Tzu-Chi Lin

Alice Liu

Sam Dean Lynn

Amber (Xinran) Ma 

Stefanie Masciandaro

Tyler Moritz

Sydney Newman

Krista Nichols

Dan Nicoletta

Michelle Paer

Youngeun Park

Ana T. Pimentel (Me)

Carmen pizarro

Adrien Qu

Andrea Saavedra

Nicolette Sacca

Giselle Sarmiento

Won Hyung Sohn

Dakyung Song

Katy Stubbs

Minju Sun

Yufei Sun

Wilson Tanner

William Taylor

Jonathan Tonello

Zoe Van Dijk

Peter Violini

Kurt Wandelmaier

Ding Wang

Leonard Wee

Seung Won Woo

Jamilla Wu

Dialing (Vanessa) Xu

Yangdi Xue

Shang Chi Yu

Nai Zakharia

Sophia Zdon