"Tell Me About Yourself" by Max Popov

  • "Tell Me About Yourself" by Max Popov

In Tell Me About Yourself, an old man looks back on his time in the East Village in the mid-1970s when he drew pictures of people, mostly tenants in his apartment building, and made the eponymous request to them. The resultant twelve drawings matched with the brief responses make up the greater part of this funny and melancholic work. The drawings, rendered in the men’s room graffiti style, and a rudimentary version of the responses actually were created about fifty years ago.

In Max Popov’s Tell Me About Yourself, an old man recalls when, while living in the East Village during the mid-70s, he asked neighbors in his tenement building and others he met in local haunts if they would pose naked for a drawing and respond to a single request: Tell me about yourself. The art brut (“raw art”) drawings reveal the character traits and states of mind of troubled souls. Their brief, sometimes comical, responses are as revelatory as their undressed poses. They speak of things odd ("I eat mud radishes”), confessional ("I can't stand my wife"), self-delusional (“All you have to know is since then I’ve wised up”), fantastical ("My head is like a plant, of which great things were once expected"), and weighty ("I'm secretly seeking a dispensation. Don't I deserve one?”). These matched drawings and reflections are a peephole view of what people ordinarily keep hidden, sometimes even from themselves.
—Albert Mobilio, author of Same Faces and Games and Stunts

Max Popov

Max Popov is a writer and yoga teacher.
He is the author of The Tempest: The Graphic Novel; Weight-Resistance Yoga: Practicing Embodied Spirituality; The Path of Modern Yoga: The History of an Embodied Spiritual Practice (published under the name Elliott Goldberg); and two entries in Yoga: L’ encyclopédie: “Yogendra et Kuvalayananda: santé et bien-être pour tous par le yoga” [Yogendra and Kuvalayananda: health and well-being for all through yoga”] and “L’invention de la salutation au Soleil” [“The creation of the sun salutations”] (published under the name Elliott Goldberg).
He teaches, in-person and remotely, suspended-body yoga, a regime for performing exercises that systemically strengthen and stretch all the major muscles using a suspension training device (a long inelastic strap anchored to the top of a door) as an at-home yogic movement meditation practice.
To read Popov’s reflections on Tell Me About Yourself, learn more about his other published works, and find out about his yogic strength and flexibility training, you can view his web page at maxpopovwriteryogateacher.com.

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Tags: graffiti, urban, new york, 1970, anecdotes, city life, memories