Artist Jason Polan's famous doodles on Uniqlo T-shirts in Singapore

Uniqlo Men's SPRZ NY Jason Polan Graphic T-Shirt with Mount Fuji print, $19.90. Artist Jason Polan enjoys drawing with kids as he says they do not over-analyse things.
Artist Jason Polan enjoys drawing with kids as he says they do not over-analyse things.PHOTO: AZMI ATHNI FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

Artist Jason Polan's doodles are done in a matter of seconds or minutes. His drawings can now be found on T-shirts, totes and pouches in a tie-up with Uniqlo

New York-based artist Jason Polan's illustrations are about capturing that moment in time, usually with a whimsical spin, before it passes.

A doodle of Mount Fuji as seen from Saigoyama Park in Meguro, Tokyo, adorns the front of a T-shirt in the artist's most recent collaboration with Japanese retail giant Uniqlo. A different view of the famous mountain, from Uniqlo's Tokyo office, is plastered on the back. On the sleeve is a small tree from Tokyo's Yoyogi Park.

Mr Nick Grover, 37, senior director of UT (Uniqlo T-shirt) Licensing - which seeks out and executes creative partnerships for the brand - says that it was Polan's ability to capture the moment that he loved.

He first met Polan during a meeting in Tokyo to discuss the collaboration.

"I was very fascinated... It was the first time I got to watch Jason making art. He's got one shot to capture the energy of the city, in 30 seconds or two minutes. And Jason became this voice of Tokyo and ultimately that is what he's bringing to the collection."

The 23-piece collection, named the SPRZ NY Jason Polan UT range, also includes T-shirts with embroidered bees, cartoon-like animals stacked atop each other and doodles of the streets of Tokyo.

Uniqlo Men's SPRZ NY Jason Polan Graphic T-Shirt with Mount Fuji print, $19.90. Artist Jason Polan enjoys drawing with kids as he says they do not over-analyse things.
Uniqlo Men’s SPRZ NY Jason Polan Graphic T-Shirt with Mount Fuji print, $19.90. PHOTO: UNIQLO

Says Polan, 35: "The collection is fun. I want people to enjoy seeing it and there are little personal things... Maybe people wouldn't think about (these things) when they are wearing the T-shirts, but I think adding little extra things like that makes it personal for me."

Mr Grover and Polan were in Singapore last month to promote the launch of the collection. Apart from T-shirts for adults and children, other items in the collection include canvas totes and pouches decorated with the artist's signature doodle.

Prices range from $14.90 for a pouch to $19.90 for a men's T-shirt. The collection is available at selected Uniqlo stores here, including the flagship store at Orchard Central and online at www.uniqlo.com/sg.

The most popular items from the collection so far are the men's T-shirt and accessories with the pretzel and giraffe designs.

As part of the promotion, Polan held a drawing workshop for children at the Orchard Central store and also signed notebooks for shoppers who bought an item from the collection.

When asked why the workshop was targeted at children, Polan says: "When I'm making art, I'm trying to do it without over-analysing things and I find kids are so good at that - they're just doing it and having fun. I just think it's super fun to draw with kids."

Polan is a freelance artist who is most well-known for his ongoing illustration series Every Person In New York, where he attempts to draw every single person he sees in New York.

"Their shirt could be folded a certain away or it could be how they were seated on the train...it's totally just random things. Usually people don't know I'm drawing them and I think that's better because it's more natural."

His drawings are published on www.everypersoninnewyork.blogspot.com.

His work also regularly appears in The New York Times and The New Yorker.

Polan, whose tool of choice is a thick black Sharpie marker or black ink pen, says that he tries not to think too much when he draws.

He adds: "I just try to draw as accurately as I can and I think that's why some of my drawings might look a little silly because they are (drawn) so quick."

"Sometimes they might have three to four legs because they are walking or they are unfinished because they have walked away. I'm not conscious of a style - I just want to make it as much as what I see."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 11, 2017, with the headline 'Capturing every moment'. Print Edition | Subscribe