Title: Harlem Serenade
Client: Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Arts & Design
Description: “Extremely popular with the riding public, the art cards and posters bring art and inspiration to millions of riders, providing a burst of color to the daily commute. Three new art cards as well as two posters will be seen in subway system throughout the MTA system. The art pieces are exhibited throughout the year within the subway cars and for several months on the station platforms, allowing for a close-up experience with the artworks.
MTA Arts & Design commissions three to five artists each year to create transit-related graphic art that appears on the horizontal interior panels in subway cars and also the vertically-oriented spaces on station platform walls amongst the advertising posters. The MTA initiated the Art Card Program in 1999, modeled after the Poster Program, which began in 1991 as a means of enhancing the station environment.” – from MTA News (http://www.mta.info/news-art-cards-art-poster-mta-arts-design/2018/02/16/mta-arts-design-unveils-new-posters-subway)
I was so honored to be commissioned by MTA Arts & Design to create a subway station poster for their Art Card and Poster Program 2018. When I received an email from AD Lydia from the team, I certainly had a secret Pentecostal praise break (without my church tambourine though*). The entire experience from thumbnails to sketches to bake our solid idea, from the sketch to a drawing and inking, and coloring it in Photoshop was exciting and vivid process. In my art making process, there is a traditional process involved with mixed media (pencil, oil pastels, ink, and gouache), so this original drawing was massive and challenging compared to my norm for editorial pieces, yet it was such a pure joy. The coloring process, which taken place in Adobe Photoshop, required gallons of coffee and scotch tape on my both eyelids to meet its deadline, but again, I was very excited for this project. Finally, a year after the deadline, the poster we created is out in public (from September 2018 for 6 month long). I am so grateful to be a part of MTA history, and hopefully my artwork would make a New Yorker’s commute more exciting and enjoyable.
Here are some highlight from the process;
We decided to go with Harlem theme with music instruments!
And finally we came up with this sketch;
Inking was a lot of work but soooo much fun!