Category Archives: Post Office

1001 Black Men #986


I love doing portraits of the peopleI see at Oakland’s main post office. It’s one of those places where you can encounter a  true cross-section of the Black residents of the city. This drawing was months in the making. I did the outline sketch in Decemer 2015; but I didn’t get around to adding color and a background until last week.

The man in this drawing was easily the tallest person in a long line customers that extended almost to the door; he was also, the most striking. He was under-dressed for the weather, in short sleeves and no jacket; and he handled the two large cardboard boxes he’d come to mail like they were nearly weightless. Among the rest of us tired-looking, box-lugging folks, he positively emanated energy and life.

In creating the drawings in this series, I’ve had to think a lot about male beauty, and especially Black male beauty. I’ve given a lot of thought to question of what makes a man beautiful, above and beyond physical qualities like symmetry or an impressive hairline (think Grey’s Anatomy). I think the Post Office patron in this drawing exemplified the substance of male beauty–confidence, effortlessness, energy, and comfort in your own skin.

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