Jason Polan, an artist who sketched everything from an antique plastic Triceratops to every artwork at the Museum of Modern Art
to a great number of Taco Bell customers, died Monday at age 37. A family member told the New York Times
that the cause was cancer.
Over the past decade, Polan’s project “Every Person in New York
” grew to include over 30,000 sketches of New Yorkers from all backgrounds. Recent additions to his website include a man carrying a Christmas tree; a woman with a boy sporting a Spiderman backpack; and two kids solving a Rubik’s Cube on the subway. Although most of the subjects of Polan’s scrawled portraits were unaware they were being drawn, he also invited those interested to let him know where they would be on a given day—for a period of two minutes—so he could drop by and sketch them. He published the first volume of his drawings in 2015. “When the project is completed, we will all have a get together,” he wrote in the project description.
Polan was born in 1982 in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and grew up in nearby Franklin. He earned a dual degree in anthropology and art and design at the University of Michigan in 2004. He moved to New York after graduation, where he made a name for himself in the art world through his eccentric, ambitious projects.