Everyone sees New York in a different way, and much of our experience of the city is informed by the ordinary sights we see every day. For his new illustrated book, The City Out My Window, artist Matteo Pericoli asked 63 prominent New Yorkers to allow him into their lives to draw the image of the city they see every day: the views from their windows. According to Pericoli, the resulting line drawings — which depict such varying sights as the view from Graydon Carter's Vanity Fair office and the fire escape a book editor regards from his tiny studio — are "not so much about what's outside the window," Percoli tells Daily Intel, as a rendering of the picture inside the viewer's mind. "It basically shows you the brain of the person." To get the initial images, Pericoli, who describes himself as "awkward," visited the homes or offices of his subjects, most of whom he didn't know, to take photographs and ask them a little about their day-to-day lives. In the following slideshow, Pericoli tells us about his experience with Gay Talese, Stephen Colbert, and three others.
Mikhail Baryshnikov, Dancer
"I met with him at his studio, where he was rehearsing," Pericoli said of the dancer. "He was very busy and very abrupt. In a nice way, but very Eastern European." As Baryshnikov talked about the studio, though, the conversation became more emotional. "It's the place he loves the most. What he sees when he looks out is this connection with the city." Afterward, Pericoli said, he had to get a cup of coffee to relax. "It does feel like taking something from someone's life," he says. Ordinarily, "That arrangement is yours and only yours."
Stephen Colbert, Comedian
Colbert invited Pericoli to his office. "Unfortunately for his family, he spends most of his time there," says the artist, a fan. "He was very of proud of the meaninglessness of his view. I think he thought that my project was going to be about handsome window views. This made me happy—it was so him. He has irony in his veins." Afterward, Colbert gave him a bottle of wine.
Nicole Krauss, Writer
"It was supposed to be a few minutes — it lasted like four hours. We had a very nice time. She completely understood — the window is not just a window, it's a reflection of your city, how the city sits in your frame. She chose the one out of her kid's room, that was the view to which she was most attached."
Daniel Libeskind, Architect
Pericoli, a former teacher at St. Anne's Brooklyn, had met the architect before. "I taught architecture, ironically, to his daughter," he said. Libeskind selected the view from the window in his studio downtown, which Pericoli found to be "one of the most challenging views — incredibly detailed."
Gay Talese, Writer
"He has a really full, lived-in house. A lot of things and memorabilia. At first he was convinced the view should be from his dining room. But then once he understood what the project was, he became very enthusiastic. He took me to his studio, and we talked for quite a long time. Later he sent me some letters, and some books. He wrote quite a long essay [to accompany the drawing]. It needed some work."
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