Jason Polan died in January 2020 of cancer at the too young age of 37. We include this drawing here to honor his memory and drawing, and because we miss him and all that he drew in the world. Michael Dumontier met Jason Polan through a trade years ago, and in 2018 he met him in person. Michael is a great admirer of Remy Charlip, which Jason knew, and this drawing is particularly detailed and sweet because it was made especially for Michael.
-Julie J. Thomson
Remy Charlip (1929–2012) was a dancer, director, choreographer, illustrator, author, and costume and set designer. Remy graduated in 1949 from Cooper Union with a degree in fine arts. The same year he met and fell in love with composer Lou Harrison, and the two were partners for many years. Through Lou, Remy met John Cage and Merce Cunningham. Starting in 1950 Remy studied dance at Juilliard, and in 1953 he became a founding member of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company at Black Mountain College. Remy danced with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company for 11 years, and also designed flyers and costumes for them. In the 1960s Remy created a choreography series titled Air Mail Dances, which were sent through the U.S. Postal System. Remy was a prolific writer and illustrator of children’s books, 38 of which were published. These include Dress Up and Let’s Have a Party (1956), It Looks Like Snow (1957), Fortunately (1964), I Love You (1967), Hooray for Me (1975), and Peanut Butter Party (1999).
Jason Polan (1982–2020) was an American artist born in Ann Arbor, Michigan who lived and worked in New York City. He earned a dual degree in anthropology and design from the University of Michigan, in 2004 he painted an ant mural in downtown Ann Arbor. After graduating he moved to New York City, where he founded the Taco Bell Drawing Club. Jason’s drawings were published in many publications including the New York Times, the New Yorker, the Believer magazine, and as a series titled The Sketch: Every Bird Has a Story for Audubon. His ongoing series, Every Person in New York, was published as a book in 2015. Another ongoing series was Every Piece Of Art in The Museum Of Modern Art. In 2015 Jason co-curated an exhibition titled The Nothing That Is with artist Bill Thelen at CAM Raleigh. Jason had a P.O. Box in New York City and also wrote stories about his daily encounters.
Michael Dumontier (born 1974) is a multidisciplinary artist who lives and works in Winnipeg, Canada. He was a founding member of the Royal Art Lodge art collective, which was active from 1996-2008, and he has collaborating with Neil Farber since 2008. Their ongoing series include Personal Messages, Clouds, and Your Book. Michael’s work is marked by a process of reduction, material experimentation and minimal intervention. Michael has had solo exhibitions in Winnipeg, Toronto, New York, Boston, and Padua, Italy and his work is part of numerous international private and public collections including The National Gallery of Canada, The Vancouver Art Gallery, Folkwang Museum (Germany), and Centro de Arte Caja de Burgos (Spain).