Category Archives: Oakland

1001 Black Men #951


Here’s another portrait from Gunther’s Ice Cream, Sacramento. The man in this drawing was sitting across from the man in the previous drawing. Their ice cream cones were long gone, but they showed no sign of leaving. It was the kind of very hot Sacramento afternoon on which the only thing that really made sense was to sit down and move as little as possible, until  well after the sun went down.

Ajuan Mance

1001 Black Men #948


Here’s one last portrait from my trip to the Claremont branch of the Oakland DMV.

Now that I’ve discovered the sketchbook solution to passing the time in the waiting area, I’m actually looking forward to my next trip to the DMV.

Of course, some might suggest that I make an appointment and avoid the line entirely; but that would require a level of organization of which I am not currently capable.

Ajuan Mance

1001 Black Men #947


This brotha was probably the best dressed man at the DMV all afternoon. He looked like he was ready to go to church, or maybe he was heading out to a nightclub after he renewed his license plates. It’s strange how, for certain genders and age groups, in certainly parts of the country, church clothes and nightclub clothes look pretty much the same.

Ajuan Mance


1001 Black Men #944


The best way I’ve found to pass the time at the DMV is to draw the people around you. When I misplaced my license for the second time in the last two years, I headed to the Claremont Avenue DMV with my sketchbook and settled in for a long afternoon. Getting to my turn didn’t take nearly as long as I expected, but I was still able to complete several drawings while I waited.

Ajuan Mance

1001 Black Men #943


Here’s another man who allowed me to photograph him for later inclusion in my online sketchbook. I met him at the Oakland Book Festival, towards the end of the day. He seemed somewhat disarmed by my request, but I showed him some images from this series of drawings, and he warmed to my request to make his portrait a part of this project.

Ajuan Mance

1001 Black Men #938


At the, 7th Street Post Office, Oakland, California.


The 7th Street Post Office is a portrait artist’s bonanza. It’s one of the places in the city in which you can encounter a truly representative cross section of the working men and women of Black Oakland. Whenever I go there, I see a least a couple of people I want to include in this series. I don’t always  get a chance to add them, but this portrait and the next depict men who were waiting in line with me during a Christmas Eve errand to the P.O.

Ajuan Mance