It was inevitable. I ride it every day and every night. It's lines are my city's arteries, it's trains the blood. Wherever one exists, metro systems are an essential part of their city and the people who live there. This is reflected in their myriad names: Metro, L, Underground, Subway and many more. But in every case, the reliable high speed transit offered by subway systems is part of what makes the bustle of modern life possible. What fascinates me most about metro systems is not only the unique character of each city's, but also the qualities of each line therein. Whether it's hipsters on the G train or gangsters on the A, each car is a unique environment every time. Its often the rule that I fall in love at least once per ride, only to have my heart broken at the next stop. This strange enclosed space is equal parts bus and elevator. Strange and intimate. Such a unique environment must be this week's inspiration.
I find my time in the subway to be very important. If it weren't for that hour under ground every day I wouldn't read or draw half as much as I do. Occasionally I'll even draw my fellow passengers if I feel I can be discrete enough. We are all aware of the subtle rules that govern subway behavior, as strange as they may be. Clearly collecting discraded metrocards does not unnerve artist Nina Boesch as illustrated in her collages depicting classic New York sights and people--made of chopped up metrocards.
While many metros cater to all crowds, modern extensions have begun to specialize in purpose. The Gatwick express is a quick way for Londoners to get to Gatwick airpot. Such trains are particularly curious since their passengers tend to be as specialized as the train itself. Anxious businessmen sit across from backpackers in a peculiar societal collage. This recent site aims to provide riders with a 30 minute track inspired by the journey to Gatwick facilitated by the new line. The site is a lovely short story artistically illustrating the trains journey.
Subways are always changing. Whether its the latest extension, closure, opening or renovation. Through time, few systems have seen as much change as New York City. What was once a dangerous and scarily beautiful place has now become a lifeline for tourists and commuters alike. As graffiti has given way to advertisement, one simultaneously yearns for that wondrous grimy past while cherishing the comforts of the aseptic and commercialized present. However through it all, art has always been a part of the NYC subway. From the beautiful old stops to the modern art adorning others. These dark tunnels beneath the city will always be a bright spot for me.
The Sketching Mechanism is a series of weekly posts, published on Mondays, containing the artistic musings of Mobile Designer/Developer Ben Chirlin from our Monday morning meeting at the NY Creative Bunker as well as his inspiring artistic finds of the week.