New York City Subway Portrait Project

Brooklyn-based illustrator Sophie Blackall was recently asked to create a poster for New York MTA Arts for Transit, a program that “encourages the use of public transit by presenting visual and performing arts projects in subway and commuter rail stations.” Each year two artists are selected by this group to have their art prominently displayed in new train cars. Her love for New York City and its denizens is quite apparent in the delightfully quirky illustration she created for this project. Her MTA Arts for Transit art card is now available to purchase. In addition, she has also recently authored her first book for adults, which is titled Missed Connections: Love, Lost & Found based on her Craigslist missed connection illustrations.

Needless to say I love the subway. I glean all my characters from my fellow passengers. The same sorts of things which attracted me to Missed Connections, I find on the train: subtle interactions, eccentricity, beauty, sorrow, secrets, kindness, generosity, excellent hairdos. Every sort of person imaginable and unimaginable. For this poster, I measured my allotted space very carefully and figured out I had enough space to draw 34 people. I had to whittle and whittle my list of favorite characters. The surfer standing with his board in a puddle of water didn’t make it. Neither did the gorgeous elderly drag queen, the man with the enormous orange velour armchair or the disheveled mermaids. I’m sorry. I still love you.

Etsy featured Ms. Blackall on their blog along with this lovely video.