Stephen Kroninger
Grand Central/SI Gold

I started this piece a few years ago and had been working on it on and off ever since. I decided to create a piece based on Grand Central Station shortly after completing a piece on Washington Square Park. A friend warned me that GCS was a very different space than the park but I shrugged him off. "Of course it's a different space." I didn't fully grasp what he meant until I began working. Washington Square Park is a destination. Grand Central Station is more of a space people pass through on their way to their destination. I would spend afternoons leisurely sketching people in the park as they remained in one place for a long time soaking in the day. People in GCS were often in flight, I had to get down as much as I could in the short span between the time they came into and then disappeared from view.
This is part of a New York City series I've been working on for the past number of years. It measures 32 x 40 inches.
 I worked from character sketches done on site. This was the first person I translated form sketch to collage.

 It became clear to me early on that it would be a near impossible task to make this look like one day in Grand Central Station so I broadened the idea by sketching over the seasons. If you look carefully you'll see people are dressed for winter, spring, summer and fall, rainy days, sunny days and snowy days. This reinforced the idea of Grand Central Station as primarily a place that people pass through.
 What follows are some character sketches followed by their corresponding image in the finished collage. It was important that each person depicted express a distinct personality.

I also wanted to retain the looseness of the line in the drawings as best I could in the collages.

 When this was a work in progress someone asked "Where did you find that Duane Reade bag." I made it.

 This was a challenge to myself. I wanted to see if I could recreate an actual cover og the New York Post. It's as close as I'll ever get to watchmaking.

My original concept was to a scene of Grand Central Station depicting windows, the clock, ticket booth etc but in the end I decided to focus on the people. The clock was all that remained. I also though long and hard about what time would be on the clock and I satisfied that issue by dispensing with the hands altogether.  The sketches and the final only tell a part of the story. There's a lot of adding,subtracting and rethinking the work as it goes along.

 This woman was drawn on the last day I was up at Grand Central. I'd been trying to figure out hoe to fill the space below the clock for a long time. I was leaning towards making it a group of people scurrying in all directions but then this woman made that decision moot. She was perfect with her little camera taking a photo for the family and friends back home perhaps.

 Here are a few character sketches of some of the people who didn't make it into the final piece.

and closing with some details of the finished work

Me drawing in Grand Central Station this past summer. Photo by Zach Gross.

 The collage can be viewed presently at the Museum of American Illustration at the Society of Illustrators through March 2nd as part of their Illustrators 55 exhibit. It's been awarded a Gold Medal.

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