Passers-by is available as a signed limited edition chapbook as well as an e-book through Apple (iBooks), Amazon, and other on-line retailers. Thirty-five images are divided into four chapters: Feeling, Thinking, Wishing, and Doing. Brian Mallman is a Milwaukee-born, Los Angeles-based artist. He was the founder and former director of Los Angeles arts organization, NELAart. He is the Gallery Director of the 50NYork Gallery in the Highland Park neighborhood of Los Angeles. He has shown his figurative drawings at Long Beach Museum of Art, Center for Contemporary Art Sacramento, Orange County Center for Contemporary Art, Zaha Museum, and INSA Art Center. He and his wife, Mary Jean Mallman, also an artist, have two sons.
Brian creates enormously complex narrative images. They are dark and light, like our humanity. Brian’s skill with his pencil rivals the great masters, yet he is thankfully uninterested in only copying what he sees. He translates his vision into a deeper and more interesting image without ever losing the solid ground of realism. With a simple tool and often simple gestures, Brian captures these portraits of passers-by and shares with us their imagined and observed inner thoughts, feelings and wishes. We can all relate. Focus is placed on the eyes and mouths, and the remainder is left to imaginative flights of fancy. Parts seem to be real and parts never will be.
We asked Brian to create many of the images in this book specifically for this show. A small group of drawings told a few small stories. But this large collection of drawings tells one giant story of the relationships that bind us to the world, to ourselves and to each other.
The images in this book are presented as Brian drew the originals; our only contribution was to add the chapter titles. Each face fills a page in a balanced composition. Each face captures more than seems possible. Some are fun. Some are serious. Some are sad. Familiarity shines through, and all are true.
In Brian’s words: I’ve read that according to the latest census, the population of Los Angeles County is 9,935,475. Being surrounded by this many people means L.A. residents are often exposed to strangers in a distant yet intimate way. Angelinos sit next to each other in cars at stoplights, walk past each other at the grocery store and wait in line together for coffee. They get glimpses of each other’s lives through clothing choices, overheard conversations and one-sided cell phone calls. Although this happens in other cities, in Los Angeles the odds are good that you will never come in contact with that person again.
These drawings are a reflection of this L.A. experience. They are not direct renderings of people I’ve encountered; rather, they are drawn from memory and have composite features from multiple sources (magazines etc.). Although the drawings are not of real people, in some ways, they become as alive as the people I encounter everyday. These drawings are an attempt to explore how little information is required for a connection to happen between two people.