Susan's "subject matter, context and medium...present a coherent artistic vision"
John Torreano, Clinical Professor of Studio Art, NYU

"Great stuff. Love your work."
Seymour Chwast

Search This Blog

Monday, April 19, 2010

1-2-3 Man

I’ve never really liked mathematics, but I find those quantifying little symbols–numbers–of which mathematics is comprised graphically interesting and elegant. I therefore incorporate them into my drawings from time to time.

Easy as 1-2-3, my grandfather, Poppa, showed me how to draw a man using the numbers 1, 2 and 3. To do this, I had to draw the number 1 for the forehead; then I attached to its base directly beneath it 2. The interior curve of the 2 made a nice eye socket and the downward slope and pointy part of the 2 became the nose. I attached a 3 to the end of the 2, which represented the upper and lower lips and the philtrum. He didn't have much of a chin (well maybe a little receding one) because I then joined the 3 and the 1 with a half-circle from the bottom of the 3 back up to the top of the 1. We called him 1-2-3 Man. We loved him and Poppa and I happily drew 1-2-3 Man repeatedly.

After a while, Poppa told me that we needed to put a hat on 1-2-3 Man in case he wanted to go out. Then he said we should put a pipe in his mouth because he liked to smoke. After that he had us drawing sharp little triangles for teeth along the bottom curve of the 3–his mouth. This made 1-2-3 Man take a graphic turn for the worse. He now looked vicious with his 3, I mean mouth, wide open, revealing all those jagged, sharp teeth! Sorry, I cannot post the drawing of 1-2-3 Man with teeth to show how grotesque he became. I wouldn't do that to you. It is too frightening and the blog police would probably shut me down, citing abuse. But you can see from the original hatless drawing with the pipe that he was not too bad looking before the addition of the sharply drawn implants.

Many years later, after Poppa passed away, I was told that when he was a child, his father told his wife and children that he was going “downstreet" for some tobacco. He put a hat on his head and his pipe in his mouth and left his home, wife and three small children forever. He was never again seen or heard from.

After hearing that charming little bit of family history, I wondered, was 1-2-3 Man whom I had been drawing all that time, actually Poppa's deserting father?

**Coming soon (probably Wednesday)–Son of 1-2-3 Man! Even scarier than the original!!**


  1. Love the stories.......I never heard of 123 man how cute..... Nancy


  2. You were quite talented even as a young Depingo. I had to do Painting by Numbers. but the paintings were strange because I couldn't keep the sequence right.

  3. So good to see 1-2-3 man again!! You know how much we love him!

  4. I see it now - Poppa smoking his pipe.

  5. I think it is more likely the father of Poppa.

  6. JB - So you were the the father of modern art, not Manet as I previously believed.