Busy in NYC

The painting “Busy in NYC” by artist Karen Frey, illustrates the atmosphere of New York City and specifically Times Square. This piece of artwork shows a popular scene in New York City, with huge masses of people crossing the street. There are streetlights, big buildings, signs, and automobiles filling the background of the picture. By analyzing the strategies used to illustrate this picture, the viewer can understand what the artist’s message and intention were when creating this beautiful work of art.  

The audience of this painting is people all over the world. Frey painted the simple characteristics of NYC that are known to everyone like the streetlights, big buildings, and cars. However, to really understand the energy and feel of NYC, you need to be there to experience it. The artist used specific artistic strategies to recreate that specific feel you get from walking the streets of the city.  

The artist’s use of color is important to pay attention to. The painting is water colored using mostly greys and a plain color pallet at first glance. However, when the painting is viewed in more depth, the viewer can see that the artist used bright colors to accentuate smaller details. The artist’s subtle use of colorful people and small details helps express her message that people in New York City are so busy and unfocussed on their surroundings. If people focused more on what goes on around them, they will notice little things they never did before.  

A strategy that was employed when painting this image was position. The viewer is watching the people as if he/she is one of them in the painting. Also, the buildings and objects look huge and overwhelming. The people look very small compared to the city itself because there are so many of them and the city is so big. The crowdedness and business of the whole atmosphere is extremely apparent. In the background, you can see trucks and streetlights and advertisements. The viewer can see that these details are there, but it is difficult to make out each object individually. They are all bunched together into an overwhelming fusion of the everyday culture in New York City that involves crowds, chaos, and an environment unlike any other in the world. This positioning highlights the artist’s intention to express the chaos and energy of New York City. 

Finally, the symbolism of the details in the painting help convey the message. When you look closely at each individual person, they are all very detailed and different. There is a man delivering a package in shorts and a t-shirt. There is a businesswoman holding a large bag. There is a garbage man. There are also people in casual everyday attire who are also simply going about their day. Although all these people are crossing the same street together, they are all only paying attention to themselves and not connected with the people just feet away from them. The huge size of New York City allows for huge masses of people to be closely pushed together, but more importantly creates an isolated and self-oriented lifestyle. People are so focused on where they are going, what they need to do, and their daily routine that they forget to stop and pay attention to their surroundings and realize the events and occurrences in the world right in front of them. 


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