Magical Metamorphoses

ShinYeon Moon is an artist and illustrator based in New York. Moon teaches at the Fashion Institute of Technology and the School of Visual Arts, where she received her MFA.

For her Zócalo Sketchbook, Moon puts a psychedelic lens on the natural world, rearranging the birth and adolescence of five animal species into bright kaleidoscopes to delight the third eye as much as the first two. Note the details in the artwork—the color shift in the cocoons, the delicately rendered leaves framing the firefly, and the subtle color glow around the …

Where I Go: The Biting Cold of Open-Water Swimming | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Where I Go: The Biting Cold of Open-Water Swimming

When the Ocean Temperature Plunges in the Winter, There’s Nowhere to Hide

I’m alone in my Brooklyn apartment on a Friday night, and I’ve decided I don’t want to live anymore. It’s November 2019, and it’s the third time this year I’ve …

The Wave

The wave a moving gray ridge
curve from the gray horizon and
pelicans, gray too, glide just
over its forward slope sight I
never tire of from the water
I …

Song of the Humming Drumlins

I got to get, to get, to get—no
to return the ice cubes I found
in my pocket to the freezer.

Time passes: closets, mirrors,
laundry, arguments, secret
hiding places. Bottom …

The World Below the Brine

The world below the brine,
Forests at the bottom of the sea, the branches and leaves,
Sea-lettuce, vast lichens, strange flowers and seeds, the thick tangle,
openings, and pink turf,

Killing Time with the Fishermen of Santa Monica Pier

Photos of the Anglers Who Hang Out Beneath the Ferris Wheel, Take in the Ocean Breeze, and Wait for a Bite

On the lower deck of the Santa Monica Pier—below the Pacific Park solar-powered Ferris wheel, Inkie’s Pirate Ship ride, and oceanfront West Coaster—there’s a quiet community of fishermen and women.

Many …