Standing O salutes Harvey Yalan, who debuted his artwork in his first-ever exhibition — entitled “Look! See! Think! – A Lifetime Perspective” — at Long Island University–Brooklyn’s Resnick Gallery on his 89th birthday, on Nov. 15. The octogenarian said he was inspired to use found objects — including cardboard, bottles, and metals — to craft his tongue-in-cheek creations of cartoonish characters to inspire viewers to take a closer look at the world around them.
“People look at things everyday, but they don’t see,” said Yalan, who lives in Midwood. “I wanted people to look and think about what it was they were seeing. Perception is subjective and that is the fun of these works.”
Yalan began making his mixed-media creations in his basement more than 30 years ago, after he retired and sold his Park Slope pharmacy. The artist said he can never predict when inspiration will strike — and that sometimes he has to go hunting for it — but added that the surprise is part of the fun.
“I have no idea what it is, what I will do with it, or what I think about it,” he said. “And then, the ‘Aha’ moment! By flipping an object upside down, redefining its perspective, seeing how it connects to other random objects, inspiration comes.”
Standing O wishes Yalan many more moments of inspiration. — Julianne McShane