Looking back at 9/11 and ‘The Bus Drawings’

It was just another day at work for Thomas Haddad. September 11, 2001.

“I was on the 89th floor of WTC 1 on 9/11. My office faced north,” he says, “which put me 30 feet below the site of impact. My office was within the huge hole that was seen in all of the news coverage. That I got out at all was a miracle.”

The path back from this scale of trauma is long and winding, and it’s likely that he, and the whole nation, are still on that journey. But we move forward using the means at hand. For Haddad, an accomplished artist, a sketchbook was his lifeline. During his morning bus commutes into New York City over the years subsequent to the attacks, that sketchbook slowly filled with an array of fantastical imagines full of implications and deeply personal depths.

The Fabulist first ran a gallery of images from Thomas Haddad’s sketchbook back in 2014. Looking back on this anniversary of the attacks, his art remains bracing, beguiling, full of implied danger — but also humor and hope.

Haddad still makes art in response to the flotsam and jetsam that accumulates around the event. Just this week, he said, he received an envelope from one of the post-9/11 crisis management agencies, and art saw its opportunity.

“The folks at LHI, sent me a lovely form letter,” he said, “that vaguely congratulated me on not dying 20 years ago in the WTC. I decided to make good use of their letter and drew an alligator.”

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