New Kids on the Block

New Kids on the Block | The Right Stuff

I can see it in your walk

Tell ’em when you talk

See it in everything you do

Even in your thoughts

 You got the right stuff, baby

Love the way you turn me on

You got the right stuff, baby

You’re the reason why I sing this song

  “You Got It (The Right Stuff)” by the New Kids on the Block 

Boy Meets Girl

Paris, 1893. A boy sees a pretty girl on a train. Then he follows her to work. He is 26; she’s 24 but having recently run away from home, she lies about her age and name. “Marthe,” who claims to be 16, will only reveal her true name, Maria Boursin, to her husband, painter Pierre Bonnard, after the couple is eventually married in 1925.




Boy Meets Boys

About a century later, music producer Maurice Starr and his business partner Mary Alford discover the rapping and dancing teenage sensation Donnie Wahlberg in Boston. Donning his signature black bandana and baggy pants, this 15 year-old boy helps select the other guys – namely, Jordan and Jonathan Knight, Joey McIntyre, and Danny Wood – who would jointly comprise the American boy band, New Kids on the Block.

Girl Meets Boys and Girls

Maybe Bonnard was a creep. Or maybe, to quote NKOTB, Marthe had “the right stuff.” My new column, its title an homage to the New Kids on the Block, is about the right stuff.

To be frank, I don’t know what the right stuff is. I have been studying and making art for over a decade. Yet the longer I work, the more I question what good art is. The mission of this column is to figure that out by talking to people who are making (or trying to make) good work.

Focusing on artists – both new and those who have been around the proverbial block – I will work each month to portray a personal account of a professional artist. I am especially (but not exclusively) interested in artists who have generated some kind of buzz. I will interview and write about artists in the now and in the know to amass a variety of intimate depictions of successful — sometimes burgeoning — contemporary artists.

I am very interested to hear your suggestions! Please feel free to send me your recommendations on artists you think have “the right stuff.”


Illustrations by Patrick Gantert,

The New Kids on the Block logo was designed by Nicole Killian and Amelia Irwin of Hot Sundae–check them out at