Alphabet City Author:Stephen T. Johnson Since childhood, I have been drawn to the particular energy one senses in the people, sounds, and structures, old and new, that constitute a city. — The idea for 'Alphabet City' came to me while I was walking along a city street. I noticed an ornamental keystone that looked like the letter 'S'. Then suddenly I saw the letter 'A' in a constructi... more »on sawhorse and the letter 'Z' in fire-escapes. At that moment, it became clear that in urban compositions I could discover the elements that form the letters of the alphabet.
Building 'Alphabet City' required self-imposed guidelines. All letters had to be capital letters, found in their natural positions, out-of-doors or in public spaces such as the subway, readily accessible to anyone who looks carefully at our urban world at various times of day, and during the cycle of the seasons.
There are no right or wrong solutions to finding letters in a city, only pleasurable ones. Some letters are obvious, while others, more subtle, come to light through a closer look.
I hope that my paintings will inspire children and adults to look at their surroundings in a fresh and playful way. In doing so, they will discover for themselves juxtaposition of scale, harmonies of shadows, rhythms, colorful patterns of surface textures, and joy in the most somber aspects of a city, by transcending the mundane and unearthing its hidden beauty.« less