James Cox, a 23-year old resident of West Brighton, Staten Island, with a gift for art illustration and a passion for community spirit, created his latest work of art as a tribute to our health care providers and other front line workers fighting to save lives in the Coronavirus crisis. The illustration entitled “Thank You,” drawn in pencil, and then scanned into the computer where it was digitally colored-over in photo-shop, depicts our frontline warriors in the Coronavirus battle holding up the Verrazano Bridge.
A week ago, James Cox’ mother, Renee, shared with Borough President Oddo her son’s work, stating that he hoped to sell prints in order to raise money to buy needed PPE (personal protective equipment) and other supplies for frontline workers. The Borough Hall team immediately fell in love with the drawing, its message and James’ goal, and got to work to make the concept a reality.
Borough President Oddo asked Emil Micha—a Borough Hall Graphic Designer with a long and distinguished career as art director for institutions like Sotheby's and the Metropolitan Museum of Art—to get in touch with Mr. Cox to offer his advice and expertise. After Emil spoke with Mr. Cox, Borough Hall went directly to Luke’s Copy Shop, a local small business, to make this concept a reality.
Borough President Oddo is pleased to announce his staff has collaborated with Mr. Cox to make “Thank You” available to the public. Prints of the 13 X 20 piece, signed by Mr. Cox, will be sent to the first two-hundred people who make a donation of $50.19 or more to the Staten Island Not-for-Profit Association, a local organization fielding donations for PPE’s and other supplies for local community-based organizations. Luke’s Copy Shop will provide prints of the illustration as their donation to the cause.
Generous citizens who would like to support this effort and help James with his goal of getting these urgently supplies into the hands that need them can donate at https://bit.ly/SINFPAdonate or by mailing a check directly to Staten Island NFP Association (950 W Fingerboard Rd, SI, NY 10304).
Artist James Cox explained that he came up with the idea for the piece after social distancing rules were put in place and he ventured out one night to buy food at Café Milano on Forest Avenue, realizing how fortunate he is to still be able to pick up pizza during a time like this:
“I live close to Richmond University Medical Center (RUMC), where sirens can be heard almost all day, every day, since the coronavirus outbreak worsened. The same night I went out for food, feeling inspired by the heroes just outside my bedroom window, I began sketching the figures in the piece.
“I wanted to create an illustration that reflected my pride in being a New Yorker and a Staten Islander, and that paid homage to the front line heroes in this health crisis: from our hospital nurses and doctors and first responders and city workers to our small business and construction workers.”
“We are so proud of James, who sets a shining example for Staten Islanders about how art can inspire and heal and rally us to good causes. I also applaud his mom and family who brought his idea to my attention. James’ illustration will help to raise funds for supplies for our front line workers and reinforces that Staten Islanders are all in this together. I cannot wait to see more great work from James as he follows his heart and talents toward a teaching career,” said Borough President James Oddo.
James is pursuing a Master Degree in Arts Education at Brooklyn College. He received his BA in Art Illustration from Pratt Institute. His career goal is to be an Arts Education teacher, as well as a professional illustrator.