City Limits Summary

“City Limits” is the first chapter of the novel “The Colossus of New York” by Colson Whitehead. In the beginning of the novel, the author uses second person point of view to state the reasons people may come to this city. He states that “Or maybe you moved here a couple years ago for a job. Maybe you came here for school. Maybe you saw a brochure.” When people come to this city, they start building their private city.The author also states that “the New York city you live in is not my New York city”. In first person point of view, the author starts building his New York city on the uptwon NO.1 train. His first memory is of looking out a subway window on the way to 125th Street in the early seventies. He remembers that the city is filthy. And he calls it Pan Am Building. It’s been a long time, but he still remember the details. Proving what he says in the third paragraph “You start building your  private New York the first time you lay eyes on it.” According to the author, the reasons that make our private cities different are neighborhoods, our favorite newsstands, restaurants, movie theaters, subway stations, etc. For going those places, different people are different. And that is how our cities are private and unique.

Urban Artifact: Phase 4

In this project, I learned the figure-ground relationship. At first, we picked up 3 artifacts on the street and arranged them on a piece of white paper to create a figure-ground relationship. I learned that art could be everywhere around the world. Then we sketched 6 obvious and 6 ambiguous figure-ground compositions. Everybody created a different work. They all had their own idea and style, so all the works were special. For ambiguous , I made lots of mistake. Most of  my peers said that all my ambiguous seems like stable. And I learned that I should put more objects to the ground to make them ambiguous. And in final part, we learned how to use the exacto knife. I think it was cool to use the knife. And I really like to do the cut out. I think what I could have done better is planning. Every time after I finished my work, I always felt like I should move this objects to there or maybe I should remove this objects. So for next project, I think I need to think more and make a satisfied plan in mind before I do the work.


Urban Artifacts Phase #3


The stable figure took around 40 minutes, the ambiguous took around 1 hour.

In the previous phases, we picked up three objects from the street. We arrange them on a piece of white paper. Then we sketched 6 obvious and 6 ambiguous figure-ground compositions. After, we chose 4 of them and inked them. Finally in this phase, we chose 2 most successful inked compositions to make a cut paper composition. We did it step by step. I think that’s how this phase of the project relates to the previous phases.




a system in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and countries within its orbit by which government-suppressed literature was clandestinely printed and distributed; also:  such literature

(source- Merriam-Webster)

I found this word in the reading “Now In Production” by Andrew Blauvelt and Ellen Lupton. The word is found in this sentence, “During the same year that Clowes published his seminal work of cultural samizdat, a major point of passage occurred in the field of graphic design.” Without knowing the definition of this word, I couldn’t understand what that major point is. But now I understand that it means the clandestine copying and distribution of literature.

Project#1 Introduction(Final)

My name is Ying Yang. I came from Kai Ping, China. It is a small town, but I love it. I can speak Mandarin and Cantonese, but my English is still improving. I have been lived in New York for 3 years. I graduated from New Utrecht High School. I’m a quiet person most of the time. I’m someone who open heart slowly, but an easy-going type. I don’t want anyone to supervise me. Freedom is important to me. But sometimes I think I am kind of conservative. I like traditional things. And I’m afraid of change. And I think that is one of my weakness. I will try to do more changes in my life. I really like to listen classic music and watch classic movie. Classic is the best! I always stay alone. I like to do things on myself. I love to stay home and play games. If I left my home for more than three days, I will miss it a lot.  Sometimes I also play basketball and watch any kinds of TV show. When I was in middle school in China, I had a great passion of basketball. I played it a lot, almost like everyday. I even cut my class for playing basketball. I also made a lot of friends by playing basketball. I always went out and hated to stay home. But after I came to US. from China, I changed a lot.  When I just got here, I didn’t understand what people saying. I couldn’t communicate with others. So after school, I almost never went to anywhere. And I started staying home and playing games. I don’t know after how long, I get used of it. But I would still go out for playing basketball and buying clothes.


The reason I chose this avatar is that it expresses the way I want to live. In the avatar, there is a man on a boat. Probably he is going home after fishing. He is on an empty lake. The water is as clean as a mirror. There are some yellow trees on the shore. So it is probably fall. Fall is my favorite season. There are  lots of  black space that makes this picture looks very quiet. Expressing one of my personality.  This place is natural and peace. This man is living a simple life. There is no pollution, noise, electronic product. I really hope I can live in a place like this. This avatar could mislead people to think I’m an indifferent person. People would think I don’t like to communicate with others. Because there is man on a small boat by only himself; the background is dark; and the trees are yellow. But in fact, I am glad to make more friends. What this avatar want to expresses is I want to live a quiet, comfortable, simple life.

My profile will conveys my personality and what I like to do. By looking at my profile, you can see I am a quiet person who loves freedom but also kind of conservative. Also you can see I like to stay home and play games.


Urban Artifacts: Phase 1: Discover

                                                      My Discovery

The three objects I discovered consist of a metro card, a beer can, and a cigarette end. The reason I picked those three items up was that I saw kind of a connection between them. And there was a word comes up to my mind when I put them together at the first time— PRESSURE.  I can imagine that there is a man going into a subway station with his metro card. The subway takes him to his work place. After working for a whole day, he feels a lot of pressure from competition, and his boss. He is looking for some relaxation. So he starts smoking and drinking. And left a cigarette end and a beer can on the street. The metro card is in a geometric shape, having lines, corners, and edges and giving me a neatly feeling. The beer can and the cigarette end are very different from the metro card. They are in organic shape. Both of them are bended, having jagged edges. They look irregular and 3D.

Sketches: each drawing took around 7-10 minus/ an hour in total



















Discovery: Avatars

Avatar: Ruky

What I observe:

  • A boy that hiding his mouth and one of his hand
  • Having gloomy eyes
  • Wearing wrinkled clothes
  • Having a angel wing and a devil wing


  • Hiding his mouth and his hand make me feel like he is shy and not confident
  • Gloomy eyes to me mean he is not a very positive person
  • Wrinkled clothes to me means he didn’t grow up in a very wealthy family
  • The wings probably mean he has multiple personality


I chose this avatar because I can see myself from it. We are probably the same kind of person. In the avatar, I see a boy hiding his his mouth, by doing this, I feel like he is shy and afraid to talk. And he is also hiding his his hand, that makes me feel like he is not a confident person. The boy’s eyes are gloomy, he also might be a negative person. The wings attract me the most in this avatar. The angel wing means he can be a very good person. But the devil wing means he can also be a very bad person in some situation. From the two different wings, I also feel like he could be different person in front of different people. He might be talkative  in front of the people that he knows well, but shy in front of the people that he does not know.

I’m not sure if my interpretations are correct. But I still feel like this avatar and Ruky having kind of a connection.