They were the businesses that kept many of us sane during lockdown and ones we eagerly wanted to support as they faced the impact of restrictions. Now a new series by Jiaqi Wang is celebrating the iconic restaurants that helped New York City through the pandemic.
Created in collaboration with T Brand for DashDoor, an app that lets you order delivery and takeout from local restaurants, Wang's series of bright colour line illustrations and moving images is more that just a project about food: "When we were shut in and shut down, they stepped up, preparing the delicious foods that sustained us throughout the long months of the pandemic," she says. "They did this under challenging circumstances, adapting to changing protocols and supporting their staffs, often with declining bottom lines.
"Restaurants give us something more than just food. They remind us that the great strength and the great joy of New York City lies in its diversity — of its culinary options and its residents. Today and every day, we salute that diversity, united in our love of New York and its many local flavours."
Wang, a Chinese-born, Los Angeles-based illustrator and animator, worked with Jovanna Tosello, art director of The New York Times, and senior designer, Nicholas Garber to bring the project to life – choosing various "iconic" restaurants in Manhattan. The whole feel of the series is one of nostalgia, from Strollers in Upper West Side and hotdog stands on every corner to West African culture in Harlem.
Aside from T Brand, Jiaqi Wang's other clients include Apple, Google, The New Yorker, and Pepsi. Renowned for creating work that celebrates diversity, she usually opts for geometric shape and acid-bright colours with clean lines, all while building narratives in her drawings. She is represented by Closer & Closer.