Friday, August 11, 2017

Metro Card Paintings

Work is underway on three metro card paintings for Single Fare 4, an open exhibition using NYC Metro Cards as the "canvas" for the art.  The concept was created by artists Michael Kagan and Jean-Pierre Roy back in 2010, and since then the popularity of the exhibition has grown.  Over the years important artists have part taken on the event, which brings an element of whimsy and fun to an over stuffy art world.  
I created three little drawings for Single Fare 2: Please Swipe Again, and I must day I was not prepared for the incredible work that was exhibited that year.  What do you make in such a tiny little space?  I was not sure back then and so I did quick little sketches of subway riders.  This time I'm trying my hardest to stand out because on year two I felt I fell flat on my face.    
I'm making three landscapes, (what else would I make?) on the metro cards, and my approach is similar to my monotypes.  I covered the cards with a mixture of burnt umber and burnt sienna and began to wipe out areas, just as I would with an inked copper plate.  This will serve as the underpainting, which will eventually get covered with color. 
I don't have anything specific in mind yet, I'm just feeling my way through it and I'm just going to have fun.  Although the pressure is on because I'm off to a late start, the images are due in less than two weeks and I just started last night...yikes! 
I've known about the show for a while and I was not intending to submit any work, I feel like I'm running around complaining I have no time, and this would have been one of those things that would have added unwanted pressure.  Besides, you can't find metro cards lying around the floors of subways stations anymore.  A few years back the MTA began charging for the metro card every time you had to get a new one.  The idea is to save money on the little plastic cards, while keeping the stations clean because people used to just throw them on the floor after they were used.  Now you keep your card and refill it.  I think it was a smart move, but it did make it a little difficult to find metro cards for this exhibition. 
Thankfully my friend Kyle came through and gave me three metro cards he was not going to use.  He even gessoed them and had them attached to a plexiglass for easy painting.  Thank you Kyle, I guess I can't back down now!

Here's a short video of the beginning stages for all three metro cards.  This is the first time I'm working on multiple paintings at once, who knows maybe I'll make a habit of it. 

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