Wednesday, April 02, 2008


Like most things It all happened by accident. I work as a professional caricature entertainer/artist for corporate parties, and special events. My jobs take me to different parts of the city, parts of Long Island Nassau County, Westchester and Staten Island. Like most New Yorkers, the subways was and is a major inexpensive form of travel to my gigs when a car wasnt available. As you might guess, these rides were also very long, sometimes taking 2-3 hours or more. To pass the time, and also to warm up I would sketch faces on the train. I likened myself to a basefall pitcher warming up in the bullpen before the big game. After a couple of hours of pre drawing undercover on the train, it became a snap to do it at the party.

Prior to doing my subway"pregame warm up" my party pictures were stiff and lifeless. It took me at least 30 minutes to start making lively pictures. Once i started doing itregularly, I was able to draw with life power and relaxation.
There came a point where I started looking forward to doing the subwaydrawings not only as a pre warmup, but as an art discipline unto itself.

Every artist knows the value of life drawing regardless of their discipline, and this became part of my discipline. My own personal life drawing class.

But then it became something more and started to evolve more.Pretty soon I started adding text to my drawings. Nothing really thought provoking, maybe a funny caption or two. Other days I would sit back and draw and when i viewed the picture i would realize I captured something very personal and honest in the expression or gesture, I would comment on that. Other times I would wax philosophical on the way the passengers interacted with each other , how they handled this "forced intimacy" of the subway car. I began to watch and record things with a more focused eye. From time to time people would ask me what i was doing, and we would talk about the pictures. I noticed that the caricatures were a natural conversation piece and made most people feel at ease and open to conversation. Most would share personal things and that feeling would sometimes spread throughout the car. I liked that the most. That feeling of connection, of community. I began to realize then that this "subwaysurfing thing" was more than me "just drawing" warming up for a gig. It was a way of expressing my personhood, a way of connecting with strangers, a way of bringing about community. In no time at all, I simply started doing it for the sheer joy of it. Miraculously, I managed to "brand" myself. I developed a persona of sorts, not to mention a massive amount of drawings that I immediately threw online once I discovered "the internet". Maybe this will turn into something big, I thought....What an understatement THAT WAS!