Meet Jason Polan, an Artist Drawing Portlandia One Sketch at a Time


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Humorless art is OVER. To celebrate the return of Portlandia, artist Jason Polan will be drawing highlights from each episode of the show’s fourth season, which will be featured on IFC.com. Jason is known for his black-and-white illustrations, which have been featured in The New Yorker, The New York Times and many other publications. He’s also made a name for himself by leading the Taco Bell Drawing Club – a group of artists who gather in Taco Bells around the country. IFC spoke with Jason about the Drawing Club, his upcoming illustrations and his mission to draw every person in New York.

1. What inspired you to start the Taco Bell Drawing Club?

I had been spending a lot of time drawing at Taco Bell, and I thought it would be fun to draw with other people there too.

2. What is it about Taco Bell that brings out your creativity?

The food maybe? Or the people that are there while I am drawing? Or the music that is playing? I bet it is a combination of those things.
An illustration of "The Celery Incident" - a sketch from Portlandia 403.

3. Your mission is to draw everyone in NY. Sometimes you pick people at random, other times they specifically ask for one. Have you been surprised by a request?

People will usually mention a spot that is pretty normal, like a street corner in Manhattan near where they live, or a park where they sit while eating lunch. Somebody told me to draw a person at a place near the airport once, but I was kind of scared and didn’t know how they were connected to the person so I didn’t draw them. Most of the spots have been fairly normal, though, and I am usually pretty excited to go and try and find the person to draw them.

4. Did drawing every piece of art at the MoMA teach you anything about modern art – or art in general?

I hope so. I did the project twice. I think it taught me a lot about myself. How I look at things or how I deal with being in a crowded place or how long I can work on something with an ending I can see, but is pretty far away at the beginning. I enjoyed spending so much time looking at the collection. I also noticed a bit about how people look at art. How close they are to a piece or how long they look at it. There are different pieces in the museum that people tend to interact with in different ways. It is fun to watch the people (so many people visit the museum each day) and to look at the art. I love that museum.

5. How long have you been a fan of Portlandia?

Since the beginning!

An illustration of "The Celery Incident" - a sketch from Portlandia 403.

6. How do you plan on capturing the spirit of the show in your drawings?

I am not quite sure. I am working on the drawings right now and am having a lot of fun. There are particular things that I like drawing a lot of (hairstyles and the dogs in the Portland Pet Haven scenes) but I also like drawing random things that surprise me (venus flytraps eating bacon) and just random things in the background I like and hope other people notice too.

7. After you draw everyone in NY, and recap Season 4 of Portlandia, what will your next artistic mission be?

I will probably take a nap or go on a vacation to Miami.

An illustration of "The Celery Incident" - a sketch from Portlandia 403.

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Holiday Extra Special

Make The Holidays ’80s Again

Enjoy the holiday cheer Wednesday December 21 at 10P on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Whatever happened to the kind of crazy-yet-cozy holiday specials that blanketed the early winter airwaves of the 1980s? Unceremoniously killed by infectious ’90s jadedness? Slow fade out at the hands of early-onset millennial ennui? Whatever the reason, nixing the tradition was a huge mistake.

A huge mistake that we’re about to fix.

Announcing IFC’s Joe’s Pub Presents: A Holiday Special, starring Tony Hale. It’s a celeb-studded extravaganza in the glorious tradition of yesteryear featuring Bridget Everett, Jo Firestone, Nick Thune, Jen Kirkman, house band The Dap-Kings, and many more. And it’s at Joe’s Pub, everyone’s favorite home away from home in the Big Apple.

The yuletide cheer explodes Wednesday December 21 at 10P. But if you were born after 1989 and have no idea what void this spectacular special is going to fill, sample from this vintage selection of holiday hits:

Andy Williams and The NBC Kids Search For Santa

The quintessential holiday special. Get snuggly and turn off your brain. You won’t need it.

A Muppet Family Christmas

The Fraggles. The Muppets. The Sesame Street gang. Fate. The Jim Henson multiverse merges in this warm and fuzzy Holiday gathering.

Julie Andrews: The Sound Of Christmas

To this day a foolproof antidote to holiday cynicism. It’s cheesy, but a good cheese. In this case an Alpine Gruyère.

Star Wars Holiday Special

Okay, busted. This one was released in 1978. Still totally ’80s though. And yes that’s Bea Arthur.

Pee Wee’s Playhouse Christmas Special

Pass the eggnog, and make sure it’s loaded. This special is everything you’d expect it to be and much, much more.

Joe’s Pub Presents: A Holiday Special premieres Wednesday December 21 at 10P on IFC.

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It Ain't Over Yet

A Guide to Coping with the End of Comedy Bang! Bang!

Watch the final episodes tonight at 11 and 11:30P on IFC.

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After five seasons and 110 halved-hour episodes, Scott Aukerman’s hipster comedy opus, Comedy Bang! Bang!, has come to an end. Fridays at 11 and 11:30P will never be the same. We know it can be hard for fans to adjust after the series finale of their favorite TV show. That’s why we’ve prepared this step-by-step guide to managing your grief.

Step One: Cry it out

It’s just natural. We’re sad too.
Scott crying GIF

Step Two: Read the CB!B! IMDB Trivia Page

The show is over and it feels like you’ve lost a friend. But how well did you really know this friend? Head over to Comedy Bang! Bang!’s IMDB page to find out some things you may not have known…like that it’s “based on a Civil War battle of the same name” or that “Reggie Watts was actually born with the name Theodore Leopold The Third.”

Step Three: Listen to the podcast

One fascinating piece of CB!B! trivia that you might not learn from IMDB is that there’s a podcast that shares the same name as the TV show. It’s even hosted by Scott Aukerman! It’s not exactly like watching the TV show on a Friday night, but that’s only because each episode is released Monday morning. If you close your eyes, the podcast is just like watching the show with your eyes closed!

Step Four: Watch brand new CB!B! clips?!

The best way to cope with the end of Comedy Bang! Bang! is to completely ignore that it’s over — because it’s not. In an unprecedented move, IFC is opening up the bonus CB!B! content vault. There are four brand new, never-before-seen sketches featuring Scott Aukerman, Kid Cudi, and “Weird Al” Yankovic ready for you to view on the IFC App. There’s also one right here, below this paragraph! Watch all four b-b-bonus clips and feel better.

Binge the entire final season, plus exclusive sketches, right now on the IFC app.

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Everybody Sweats Now

The Four-Day Sweatsgiving Weekend On IFC

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This long holiday weekend is your time to gobble gobble gobble and give heartfelt thanks—thanks for the comfort and forgiveness of sweatpants. Because when it comes right down to it, there’s nothing more wholesome and American than stuffing yourself stupid and spending endless hours in front of the TV in your softest of softests.

So get the sweats, grab the remote and join IFC for four perfect days of entertainment.

It all starts with a 24-hour T-day marathon of Rocky Horror Picture Show, then continues Friday with an all-day binge of Stan Against Evil.

By Saturday, the couch will have molded to your shape. Which is good, because you’ll be nestled in for back-to-back Die Hard and Lethal Weapon.

Finally, come Sunday it’s time to put the sweat back in your sweatpants with The Shining, The Exorcist, The Chronicles of Riddick, Terminator 2, and Blade: Trinity. They totally count as cardio.

As if you need more convincing, here’s Martha Wash and the IFC&C Music Factory to hammer the point home.

The Sweatsgiving Weekend starts Thursday on IFC

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