Art on the Road: New York City

I love NY!

New York City has to be one of my all time favourite places in the world. No matter how many times I visit the bustling metropolis, I can always be assured of discovering something new.
Wall Street American Flag
I often wonder where the heck the “real” New York City begins and ends. I mean sure, I know that there are 5 boroughs in the city, but then there is the whole NYC metropolitan area to consider. This is a huge area that comprises of a host of other cities and towns in four states. Now that is big!
Push Pin art

Abstract art was the theme for list leg of Art on the Road, and in my exploration for abstract art we considered all of the immediate area around NYC. We found a good abstract artist in a quaint suburb outside the city called Tarrytown and I was honored to be invited to the home of Will Hanlon who creates his abstract art out of multicolored push pins and foam core.

At first glance Hanlon’s art can seem like the kind of modern art that “anyone” can do, yet on closer observation one really gets a sense of the three diminutional aspect to his creations and the thought that goes into each piece. As  I approached the artwork from different angles the pins metamorphosed from a multicoloured display of dots to a singular shape of colour. On other approaches to his works, bumps and rises become more or less obvious, shapes shift from two to three dimensions and there is a story behind each of the pieces that is told masterfully by the creator of these dotted oeuvres.
Push pin artist Will Hanlon

Hanlon compared the process of making push-pin art to popping bubble wrap. He has often invited people to try it for themselves to see what he is talking about and I can understand what he means. The pushing of pins into the foamcore boards makes a similar sound to the pop of a singular bubble wrap bubble and hey… who doesn’t like popping bubble wrap? Add the splashes of colour and the mathematical precision of the designs to the hundreds or thousands of “pops” into the board and I can see how this kind of art can not just beautiful but also very soothing and therapeutic to the artist.

One of the cool things that Hanlon often does is let children name his works of art. I just love that. As he told me: “the art is no longer mine once it is completed, it belongs to the people”. The way I see it, this kind of fun art will resonate with children on so many levels, and who is better qualified to add the final touch to the art by naming it, than a child?

I had a lot of fun with Hanlon both at his house and at the Tappan gallery in Tarrytown that is displaying his art. His acerbic wit made me feel at home immediately and his explanation of the way he works, how he gets his inspiration from things like his daughter’s Pokemon obsession, his take on pointillism, and his music (he plays 30 instruments!) was enthralling for the brief time that I had to spend with him.

Photos do not do the push-pin art justice and if you get a chance to see some of Hanlon’s art, you’ll see why I say this.


Thanks to the SpringHill Suites “Art on The Road” tour, I get a chance to spend time talking with many different types of artists and Hanlon proved to be not just a talented artist, but also an charming, funny, and intelligent renaissance man who is at ease talking about everything from science and art, to religion, politics, and even Wall Street where he has worked for most of his professional career.

I’m looking forward to seeing how Hanlon’s work evolves in the future and personally speaking I think the future is bright.


On my second day in New York I went right into the heart of it all to explore Manhattan and Brooklyn, which just happen to be my two most favorite places in all of New York City.

Niki de Saint Phalle - Dolphin

In my search for abstract and other types of art I came upon things like giant cubes, ball holding dolphin riders, man eating alligators, astronauts, and even some weird stuff.

The city itself can be described as abstract art in some ways as there is no stereotyping New York City or the people that live there. Yet so much of the distinct and unique features of the city and it’s quirky inhabitants are so typically New York. It’s hard to describe how different the individual neighborhoods are without actually being there and observing for a while. People who live in New York City could easily write epic stories about every last one of the dozens of districts in each of the five boroughs and each one would be deliciously individual.

I had little time to get to the places I wanted, mostly because my want to see list is about 3 miles long and that doesn’t even include all the beautiful public art that is available to everyone in New York. Keeping in mind the fact that time would fly by during the course of a day I plotted my course carefully from Midtown to Downtown, then Brooklyn and back to the Manhattan at night that I love to photograph so much.

There truly is art everywhere in the Big Apple and it can take shape in the form of a solitary small work on a street corner to huge abstract monstrous metal creations that rise two stories or more in the air. There is art on walls, in parks, on the street, in galleries and museums and if you look close enough you can even see art on the interior walls of multi-million dollar condos in the glass and steel modern buildings along the uniquely Manhattan High Line. So many of these spectacular apartments have gigantic windows with no curtains and at night it is easy to look in and see how the other half — or perhaps I should say the 1% — live.

Speaking of the High Line, this is exactly where I ended my day of exploring New York City’s public art. As you walk along the elevated park that stretches for a mile and a half, you are treated to a series of public art works that are nestled in a perfect easy to access green space getaway in the middle of one of the busiest places on earth. Just one more reason to adore this city!

Another day, another amazing city to explore on my Art on the Road adventure. Thanks New York City, I hope to be back very soon.





Jordan here I come!

I’m Heading back to Jordan today to host a sold-out photography workshop and I can’t wait to get back to this beautiful and historic country. I’m eager to share the experience this time with 12 people who will be visiting this amazing place for the first time. What a thrill it will be to see their faces as they discover such treasures as Petra, the Dead Sea, and the desert of Wadi Rum.


Look for a blog post about the experience here in a few weeks, it’s bound to be a doozy!


You can follow along on Twitter, Google+, and Instagram with the hashtag: #TGLJordan





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  1. says

    Seriously impressive! I get the same idea on a smaller scale about Toronto, but New York … you could definitely discover new things on a trip each year until you die … it’s that deep!

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