art

The Illustrated Train

I may have been taking public transportation for my entire life, but people-watching on the subway never gets old. Even when I’m trying to block out my fellow commuters—with my headphones turned up and/or a magazine in front of my face—I can’t help but wonder what their backstories are: Why are they also headed home so late? Where are they coming from? Who’s waiting up for them? And so on.

Bee Johnson is similarly intrigued by NYC subway riders. The Harlem-based artist has taken to capturing them in her series, “The Illustrated Train.”

The project is exactly what it sounds like. As Micropolis NYCВ quotes Johnson:

If I happen to be standing on a crowded train and can’t comfortably draw or only have a stop before I have to get off, I’ll try to discreetly snap a photo (no flash!) with my phone and base my illo on that. (I know I sound like a total creep, but what can you do? Sometimes the best ones are gone in a flash.)

A few of my favorites illustrations:

southbound for a sleepover

bronx, party of three

to grandmother's loft we go!

the mad hatter of morningside heights

…funny enough, I see the guy in the last illo all the time on the A train!

(Illustrations by Bee Johnson; found via Micropolis NYC)

Rain Room

Here’s a good reason to mark your calendar: Random International’s Rain RoomВ is coming to PS1!

The exhibit, which debuted last year in London, looks incredible. Vistors enter a room filled with rain—but wherever they step, overhead censors prevent water from falling on them. So they’re able to walk through the downpour without getting wet, virtually controlling the weather!

I first learned of the Rain Room, last fall, when I saw these photos. Wayne McGregor choreographed about 25 hours of dance for his companyВ to perform inВ the London exhibit:

rain room

rain room

No word, yet, on whether there will be a similar dance component in the PS1 exhibit. But if anyone is interested in being my pas de deux partner, let me know—I would happily dance around the Rain Room with you!

(Photos by Sidd Khajuria via Random Dance; Rain Room is at MoMa PS1 from May 12 through July 28.)

Adrian Tomine’s NYC Illustrations

My all-time favorite New Yorker cover is Adrian Tomine‘s “Missed Connection.” It ran on the November 8, 2004 issue, which I purchased more for that illustration than the stories inside. At the time, I was living and working in Boston (albeit, at a pretty great job) but dreaming of being back in NYC. I felt a bit like the girl in the illustration: so close to reaching something that would bring me great happiness, but not quite there. That cover hung above my desk for the next few years, until I made it back to NYC.

Missed Connection

Since the, I’ve been a huge fan of Tomine’s work, especially his NYC-related illustrations. He captures life in the city with amazing poignancy—especially the mundane, everyday details. Like inВ my second-favorite New Yorker cover, “Summer Getaway”В (which I’d posted on Tumblr back in 2010 when I used Tumblr!):

Summer Getaway

Or in the “AC” illustration below. (Though if that were my apartment, there’d be an open window and no AC! I actually love the thick, NYC summer heat.)

AC

The other day, I learned that you can buy signed Tomine prints from his website—including “Missed Connection” and “AC.” At $250 each, they’re a little out of my price range, but maybe one will eventually hang in my apartment. Tomine also has a new book, New York Drawings, of, well, I’m sure you can guess. I’ll be placing my order!

What’s your all-time favorite New Yorker cover?

(Images via Adrian-Tomine.com)

Thread Art

How gorgeous is this thread art installation? It’s the work of Gabriel Dawe, a Mexico City-born/Dallas-based artist. He’s created numerous pieces like this around the world, but this one, “Plexus no. 19,” at Villa Olmo, in Como, Italy, is my favorite. I love theВ juxtaposition of the delicate threads against the site’s ornate architecture. It’s like catching a glimpse of a rainbow on a sunny day. (Which, by extension, made my day a little sunnier!)

thread art

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Gabriel Dawe thread art

(Images via Radiolab)

MetroCard Art

In my humble opinion,В few things are asВ quintessentially NYC as MetroCards. They’re literally your keys to the city, allowing you to travel pretty huge distances (e.g. my Washington Heights apartment to Coney Island) with a single swipe.

That’s why I’m loving Single Fare 3, a new exhibit that showcases art created on MetroCards. More than 1,000 artists submitted pieces for a chance to have their tiny works displayed. The exhibit runs at Tribeca’s RH GalleryВ through February 22, and individual cards are available for purchase through March 15.

Some of my favorites:

McKean Thomas MetroCard

Dina Brodsky MetroCard

Stacy Seiler MetroCard

Jeff Faerber MetroCard

Jeff Bellerose MetroCard

Not all the cards are NYC-themed; those are just the ones that I was most attracted to. (Surprise, right?) Check out all of them here.

(Images fromВ Single Fare 3В via WNYC)

Animals in Hiding

Maybe it’s because we grew up in the city, but Mal and I are TERRIBLE at spotting wildlife. (She’s bad and somehow, I’m even worse than she is.) Anytime we’re hiking, our guide, or whomever we’re with, will point out an animal—a sloth, monkey, bird, deer, cool insect, whatever—and it takes us 10 years to spot it. Half the time, I can’t find them at all, no matter how hard I look.

So I couldn’t help but laugh to myself when I came across the work of Art Wolfe, a man far more talented than I am—both at spotting animals and photography. For his “Vanishing Act” project, he somehow found wildlife camouflaged in their surroundings and captured them on film. I honestly have no idea how he did it. Because if I were embarking on a similar project, I’d have a grand total of zero pictures.

Here are a few of his incredible shots:

art wolfe

art wolfe

art wolfe

art wolfe

And, um, could someone please tell me where the animal is in the photo above? I haven’t been able to find it!

(Photos by Art Wolfe via Bored Panda)

One Day of NYC’s MTA Traffic, Animated

This video made my day.

Sumus Technology, a Canadian software company, used MTA data to animate 24 hours of public transportation in NYC. The visual is totally cool; I love how you can see the city awaken as the various lines—which include the subway, buses, LIRR, Metro-North and NY Waterway in their corresponding colors—light up until you can basically see a map of their routes. (I was even able to pick out the LIRR line that runs out to Bayside, where I grew up!)

But really, the music makes the video! The old-school, honky-tonk rendition of “New York, New York,” alone, is enough to make me smile.

(And if you love this, check out “Flight Patterns,” another awesome animation of—you guessed it—airplane traffic over the U.S.)

(found via the Atlantic)