Tag Archives: Art

1001 Black Men #857


Manhattan, New York.


This is one of many people I passed as I searched for an alternative lunch spot, once I realized that Carnegie Deli had beenclosed (perhapstemporarilypleaseihope) by the City of New York. The accusation: Stealing electricity from the establishment next door.

If you look up the Carnegie Deli on Yelp, you’ll see a lot of praise and a lot of criticism. Many people believe this classic dining spot has become a mediocre purveyor of a New York-style tourist experience. Others believe the establishedment still serves up some good quality, classic deli food.

To the negative Yelpers, I say, “Haters be damned. Carnegie’s Chicken & Bacon Whoopee sandwich is food of the gods.” To the City of New York, I say, “Carnegie Deli is as paradigmatically New York as Bodegas and Sabrett’s. Please don’t take my Whoopee sandwich away.

Ajuan Mance

1001 Black Men–#424

The yellow in these guys’ clothes represents their construction safety vests. There’s a lot of construction going on in the East and Southeast parts of Oakland. I’m not quite sure what they’re doing to Highway 880, but the overpass at High Street near Home Depot hasn’t looked right for months. Then there’s the construction on the Oakland Airport BART extension. That’s the construction project depicted in the photo I’ve incorporated into drawing. These guys were working on the extension at the point where it will run along Hegenberger, I liked the way their hairstyles and beards seemed to be complimentary–short hair vs. long hair, headband vs. no headband, full beard with no mustache vs. goatee with a mustache. It might seem like a silly reason to remember someone, but I love patterns and pairings, even in human beings. Of course, these guys were like a magnet for my nerdy pattern-loving gaze.

Ajuan Mance

1001 Black Men–#361

Here’s another drawing from my 2012 Comic-Con sketchbook. This year’s Sid and Marty Kroft panel included guest panelists David Gerrold, co-creator of Land of the Lost and writer for the famous Star Trek episode “The Trouble with Tribbles,” and Wesley Eure, who played the role of Will Marshall on Land of the Lost. The Kroft brothers were witty and entertaining, Gerrold was humble and whip smart, and Eure seemed genuinely happy to be there. In fact, the most impressive thing about this session was how truly gracious all four of the panelists seemed to be.

At the end of the panel, they stuck around to shake hands and snap photos with the attendees. This drawing depicts one of the many fans who rushed up to the front of the room to snap pictures of the Kroft brothers and their special guests. Did I already say that one of the best things about Comic-Con is the sheer volume of Black folks who attend? The volume of African American comic, fantasy, and sci-fi fans is absolutely thrilling for a Black nerd like me…and all of the cosplay, gaming, autograph seeking, and general geekery is undertaken without even the slightest hint of irony. This conference might be the safest space for unapologetic nerdiness and geekiness in the western hemisphere. If you don’t believe me, ask the guy in this drawing.

Ajuan Mance

1001 Black Men–#354

Union Square, San Francisco, July 2012.

Some women just love a man in uniform. When a guy with great hair and a perfectly fitting camel hair overcoat crosses my path, well, that’s what turns my head. Some people enjoy bird watching, but I enjoy clothes watching, especially when it comes to traditionally tailored men’s fashion. And as a person who adores fall fashion in particular, I just have to say how much I love that I live in a part of the country in which a camel hair coat is perfectly acceptable and appropriate summer fare. . Although I miss a lot about the Northeast, I am not sure I will ever be able to leave the awesome climate of the SF Bay Area. For a sweater lover like me, it’s too perfect!

Ajuan Mance

1001 Black Men–#305

For this drawing, I took a man I saw at Zocalo Cafe and I replaced the wooden tabletop with a formica tabletop. This man was interesting to me because he was wearing what I like to call an Ajuan outfit. Mix 1980s preppy with 1990s geeky chic, with the costumes from the activities fair scene in Chariots of Fire, and you’ve got an Ajuan outfit. I always like it when I see people dressed like this because it reminds me of my childhood on the East Coast.

On a slightly different note, I used a formica tabletop in this drawin, because I’m still feeling a little sad about having recently replaced my vintage formica and stainless steel dining room table with a brand new Scandinavian style wooden table. The new table is nice, for sure, and I’m glad we got it; but there was something I really liked about that old formica table. It had history and a unique style all its own. I’ll be trying to sell it soon. I hope it goes to a good home.

Ajuan Mance

1001 Black Men–#251

Every time I go to the men’s Macy’s in San Francisco’s Union Square, I see some incredibly stylish shoppers. This man in this picture was sporting a lovely cashmere sweater and the most awe-inspiring sideburns I’ve seen in a long time. His sideburns were accentuated by the fact that he had no other facial hair except for a modestly-sized beard at the bottom of his chin. The sideburns were the perfect complement to his extra high and rectangular Afro. I’ve never seen anyone with quite the same coif as the man in this drawing, which it exactly what makes his style so very awesome!




1001 Black Men–#230

Two-hundred and thirty drawings down and Seven-hundred and seventy drawings to go!

I chatted briefly with this slim and stylish fellow-artist at the Dick Blick store on Broadway (across for the California College of the Arts). We were both agonizing over the various thicknesses and colors of the Micron drawing pens. I think the guy behind the counter was a getting a little impatient, but understandably so. We were not only bonding over the fact that we both used Micron pens, but also over the fact that we both liked the same thickness of line and both of us only ever used black ink.

To this slim and stylish micron-pen-loving guy I make the following request: If you happen to stumble onto this blog and if you happen to recognize yourself, do drop me a note with a link to your own online gallery or even an invited your next gallery show. I’d love to see your work. We pen-obsessed sketch artists of Oakland have to stick together.


1001 Black Men–#218

In today’s post I’m returning to my 2011 Comic-Con sketchbook. This drawing depicts one of the many hopefuls I noticed each day as I walked past the waiting area for the annual portfolio review. I always marvel (no pun intended) at the commitment and optimism of these folks, who spend a significant chunk of their Comic-Con weekend waiting in line to have their sketches reviewed by a comic book company editor,all in the hope that they will be picked up as an illustrator.

Some Comic-Con attendees express their love for comic books, fantasy, animation, and sci-fi through their fanatical participation in role-playing games, others through dressing up like their characters, and still others through their encyclopedic knowledge of every aspect of the fantasy world in which their favorite characters live. The men and women who sat waiting patiently for a portfolio review represent still another type of fan, the kind whose love for the medium or genre has driven them to develop skill and expertise in the creation of their preferred art form. Such is the case, I’m sure, with other fan gatherings, like the various Atlanta’s A3C, and Austin’s South By Southwest. While many of the aspirants to hip-hop, rock, and country music stardom desire to take center stage, though, Comic-Con’s legions of aspiring comic book artists, costumer designers, animators, and production designers prefer to work behind the scenes to create the imaginary figures and landscapes that shape others’ fantasies and dreams.


1001 Black Men–#211

Simple story. I was talking to a guy I see a lot at one of my favorite Oakland grocery stores. We were speaking about how scary some of the bizarre changes in the weather have been. “The really bad [changes in the weather] are pretty freaky,” he explained, “but they’re pretty far down the road.” He went on: “The stuff that really scares me are the things that are a threat right now.” I asked him what some of those things were, and he gave me a list. I asked him if I could record him speaking, and I told him I’d be doing a drawing of him and writing this short anecdote. Mad props to him for giving me permission. Here’s what he said about the six things that scare him the most.

  1. Guns really scare me. I’ve never owned one, never touched one. I don’t like ’em.
  2. The cops scare me worse than guns, ‘cuz some of then just don’t like Black folks. I’m just speaking the truth. Some of them don’t like people like us, and their guns are legal.
  3. I’ll be honest. I’m scared of dying. I shouldn’t be, but I am. I’m scared of the unknown.
  4. I’m scared of women. I mean, not all women, not like you. I mean I’m not really scared of women at all, really. Seriously. What I mean is that I’m scared of a woman breaking my heart. I scared of heartbreak. I am admitting to you right now that I am scared of having my heart broken.
  5. When I was a kid, I saw a photo of a man who’d been struck by lightning. Scared the something out of me. I’ve hated lightning ever since. In the summers I’d go see my grandparents in Arkansas where they had real thunderstorms. I couldn’t even stand it. I’d climb under the bed.
  6. I guess this ties in with hating guns, but I am definitely scare of getting shot. Some of these young men walk around talking about having a target on their back like it’s something to be proud of. I can’t understand it myself. We were never like that. They have so much to live fore. I’m scared of getting shot. In some ways, all Black men have a target on their backs, but I’m working to stay away from violence. I’m a man of peace.
  7. And I’m also scared of spiders.