Poster Image

Sumac Growing Wild


Item#: 2010SYR08

Purchase Details

11x17-inches, printed on heavy weight (100-pound) Hammermill cover paper. We package each print with a piece of chipboard in a clear plastic sleeve.

You also receive…

An information page with photos of the artist and poet, and hand-written comments from each.

Medium- and large-format posters are available by custom order. Contact us for details.

Poem Inspiration Location

Sumac Growing Wild

poster information


sumac growing wild
right in Columbus Circle!
someday, a forest

One summer day I was passing through Columbus Circle, with its ring of exotic ornamental plants blooming in garish reds and pinks. Right there amongst them, a staghorn sumac had taken root as though reasserting its original territorial rights—tall, gangly, fuzzy stem.

This native plant had found its way (seed maybe dropped by a bird) to the circle of Columbus, Euro-conqueror of the “New” (to him) World. As though pioneering flora like this brave plant are trying to heal over the scars of the urban concretized landscape, the European legacy of Columbus and his heirs.

Someday, a forest. Someday, today, nature will prevail, though someone undoubtedly would come along to yank this “weed” from the circle. Our city is temporary. Once a cedar swamp, it will someday return to forest, or (if the climate warms as predicted), a prairie or even desert.

I wanted to illustrate something I was familiar with, and I had driven through this area in the past, downtown, and thought the Columbus statue was cool. I know of other Columbus circles. There's a statue within a Columbus Circle in Spain that I visited last summer. So I thought it was interesting that Syracuse had a pretty nice one too.

When I went down to do sketches, it was very busy with people and cars. I didn't get a good parking spot, so I didn't want to leave my car for too long. So the drawing was quick, but it's the same composition I used for the final painting. I'm happy with how it came out. I got the natural and manmade elements in balance, and I'm happy with the different textures, the lighting, and the way it captures Syracuse's atmosphere.