Portfolio: A City Connected

Renowned New York artist captures today's mobile scene

Who better to capture a day in the mobile life of New York than one of the city’s most individual observers? Best known for his 2009 cover of The New Yorker, the first for a major magazine created with the iPhone, Lisbon-born Jorge Colombo has lived in New York since 1998 and in that time has borne witness to technology’s inexorable influence on all our lives. “Personal devices are now like Swiss Army knives: one simple tool in your pocket that does the jobs a bunch of different ones used to do,” he says. “Networking sites became the town square, the coffeehouse, the front porch.” For all the attention they get, Colombo says his smartphone drawings really aren’t all that different from those he does with a pencil and pad. “It’s not about the tool—it’s about the observation and the quick capture,” he says. But for the artist, whose collection of cityscapes was published by Chronicle Books last year and who teaches a series of workshops at the Museum of Modern Art this month, reportage has its hazards. “Crowds bump into me,” he says, “but everyone thinks I’m just typing a very long email.”