Travel theme: Art

One of the things I love most about art is how it can restore the spirit, and nowhere is this more needed than in the New York subway. Commuting via subway can be arduous at the best of times, and the dead heat of summer is not the best of times. While the subway trains themselves are usually pleasantly air-conditioned, the platforms and tunnels develop a unique microcosm that resembles a urinal…in a sauna…that is located approximately 3 miles from the surface of the sun. Tempers fray as commuters, sweat glistening from their brows, elbow each other out of the way to get off the platforms and out of the tunnels as quickly as possible.

It was on just such a day that I got a little lost on the way to Penn Station. I usually enter the station from street level, but this time, I got off at the 34th Street A/C/E station and absentmindedly followed a sign for Penn Station that led to one of those dreaded tunnels. It was quite empty – presumably because everyone else had wisely opted to get outside as quickly as possible. As I forged on, wondering how long it would take for me to go down with heatstroke, I rounded a corner and was greeted by a Garden of Circus Delights. No, it wasn’t a mirage, it was a fabulous glass mosaic by artist Eric Fischl, adorning the walls of the tunnel leading towards Penn Station.

subway art new york 34th penn station

subway art new york 34th penn station

subway art new york 34th penn station

The series of mosaics tell the story of a commuter who gets magically drawn into the weird and wacky world of the circus on his way to work. You follow his circus adventures as you travel along the tunnel, and at the end, he re-emerges, surrounded by white, still a commuter but somehow transformed.

subway art new york 34th penn station

Off we go!

subway art new york 34th penn station   subway art new york 34th penn station

subway art new york 34th penn station  subway art new york 34th penn station

subway art new york 34th penn station    subway art new york 34th penn station

subway art new york 34th penn station  subway art new york 34th penn station

While I wasn’t exactly transformed by the time I reached Penn Station, my spirits were definitely restored.

Art can be interpreted in so many different ways, I’d love to see your take on the theme.

If you’d like to join in, create your own post between now and next Friday, title it “Travel theme: Art” and put a link to this page in your blog post to make it easy for others to find your post.  Don’t forget to check back in next Friday for a new travel theme.

Have you had a memorable encounter with art in some shape or form?

xxx Ailsa

About ailsapm

Hi there! I’m Ailsa Prideaux-Mooney. I’ve lived in many places, and travelled to many more. I had a lot of fun getting there and being there, wherever there happened to be at the time. I climbed a castle wall in Czesky Krumlov, abseiled down cliffs to go caving in the west of Ireland, slept on the beach in Paros, got chased by a swarm of bees in Vourvourou (ok that wasn’t fun, but it was exciting), learned flower arranging in Tokyo, found myself in the middle of a riot in Seoul, learned to snowboard in Salzburg, got lost in a labyrinth in Budapest and had my ice cream stolen by a gull in Cornwall. And I’m just getting started. If you’ve enjoyed what you’ve read so far, I’d love you to follow my travelogue - - and remember, anyone who tries to tell you it’s a small world hasn’t tried to see it all.
This entry was posted in New York, United States, Weekly Travel Themes and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

198 Responses to Travel theme: Art

  1. David says:

    Love this – makes the London Underground look decidedly bland!

  2. Pingback: Travel Theme: Art | a hectic life

  3. autumninbruges says:

    If I knew the new travel theme was Art i would have waited to post the pictures of Artboxes in London.. grrr :S Now I have to think about something else..more Artboxes? maybe.. or something different… Let’s see what comes out 🙂 Love the mosaic you posted 🙂

  4. fgassette says:

    I love the glass mosaics you found underground. I love street art and we have a lot in our city. Thanks for sharing.


  5. Madhu says:

    I can see why your spirits were restored! That is a fabulous series of mosaics! I will have to read up more on Eric Fischl. Another wonderful theme Ailsa, let me see what I can come up with. ‘Art’ shouldn’t be too hard 🙂

  6. Very cool Ailsa! 🙂 Great theme…great pics.

  7. topher79 says:

    I can understand your feeling, the Tokyo subway system can also be a pain to navigate and with summer quickly approaching I am not looking forward to taking the train with a million or so other people. It is always quite nice to come across the unexpected

    • ailsapm says:

      Oh boy, topher79, your comment just brought back some memories there, of getting lost in the Tokyo subway, and being stuffed into trains like battery chickens!

  8. cocomino says:

    It’s wonderful art.

  9. Yowza! I hope he did all that beautiful artistry in the dead of winter. Or does it matter down there?
    Glad you came out on the other side with spirits restored.

    • ailsapm says:

      Winters makes the subway much more bearable, Gemma, so I hope all the work was done then, and not in the neights of summer 🙂

  10. Amy says:

    That is a creative and beautiful glass mosaic, and it’s in the subway tunnel. How cool! Thank you, Ailsa!

    • ailsapm says:

      There’s actually art all over the NY subway system, Amy, it’s always an adventure getting off at a subway station you haven’t been to, because you never know what you’ll find!

  11. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge: Fleeting Moments « the thirdeyeworld

  12. thirdeyemom says:

    This is so incredibly cool Ailsa! I love art in random, unexpected places! If I had more time, I’d do one of the beautiful graffiti I saw in Guatemala or the murals in Grand Marais but I’m leaving for vacation tomorrow and am thinking of taking a blog vacation too! I managed to get in a sneaky double photo challenge, though with this entry below. Cheers!

  13. Pingback: C-art « primo piano

  14. marina says:

    I love the mosaics and the story portrayed… It is amazing: think about all the work put in this project!
    I have two links on this theme

  15. travtrails says:

    The pictures were clicked in the lanes of Chueng Chau Island, Hong Kong

  16. Pingback: Ailsa’s Travel photo challenge: Art « Sounds like wish

  17. Pingback: Street Art | Canoe Communications Blog

  18. trishworth says:

    Many thanks, Ailsa, for your inspiration. Here’s my arty submission:

    I really liked your subway story and I can see that the mosaic is a gift to commuters, though you’ve succeeded in turning me off this form of transport. I’m a bit spoilt – I have a car and a bicycle so it’s easy for me to avoid public transport. But I remember that offensive smell from my travels in large French cities. It really shocked me because I don’t smell it here where I live in a wide open space.

    • ailsapm says:

      I’ve travelled many of the major public transport systems around the world, and I have to say, the New York subway is particularly aromatic! 🙂 Lovely post about Millie and her dad.

  19. Lovely large mural. An interesting story to take people’s minds off the sometimes dreary commute. Was it tricky to capture such a large mural into sections?
    Sort of Alfred through the lookinglass into a circus world. I thought I would give it a whirl with your theme this week about art. I sort of followed it through with street art.

    • ailsapm says:

      The tricky part was trying to counteract the glare of the overhead fluorescent lighting, which makes the glass tiles glitter beautifully but creates a concentration of light that was tricky to photograph. Lovely shots of street art out and about – the Robert Johnson one you posted was my favourite 🙂

  20. Pingback: Travel Theme: ART « scrapydo

  21. Vanessa T. says:

    Wow these are really lovely! I wished my station had murals like these too~~~ >_<

  22. Pingback: Travel theme: Art ‘beyond the black stump’ | Have you ever…

  23. Madoqua says:

    The subway murals are really lovely, what a treat!
    If you would like to see some art in the desert, I have posted an article about going ‘beyond the black stump’:

    • ailsapm says:

      How wonderful, Madoqua, ancient aboriginal handprints, stunningly beautiful. I now have a need to go ‘beyond the black stump’ – thanks for sharing this ancient art with us!

  24. Pingback: Travel theme “Art” | Campanulla Della Anna

  25. Amazing “Art” Here’s my contribution Thank you very much @Ailsa and friends, hope enjoy it 😀

  26. Pingback: Travel Theme: Art « A year in the Life

  27. gingerbreadcafe says:

    Fantastic mosaics, very uplifting better then those tunnels of dreary walls that feel will never end!

  28. Pingback: TRAVEL THEME: ART « Francine In Retirement

  29. fgassette says:

    Hi Ailsa, Here is my entry for Travel Theme: Art. The Bridal Mural:


  30. Pingback: Travel theme: Art (STATUEQUE) « Pictures in living color

  31. A very inspiring post. Art makes us feel alive. Gives colors to our world.

  32. Pingback: Travel Theme: Art | this man's journey

  33. DagEnDauw says:

    Hi Ailsa,

    Wow! So beautifull, these artworks and the pictures you took from it.

    It was a difficult job for me to make my final choice this time… but here ‘s the result :
    A very nice weekend, everybody!

    – Dauw –

    • ailsapm says:

      I’m so glad you chose the dome, Dauw, I’d never heard of it but it looks beautiful. Where did you take that first photo? Brilliant imagining of humming-bee-ings – I love your eye!

  34. Pingback: Travel Theme: Art | mothergrogan

  35. Pingback: Project 365, Day 216; Travel Theme: Art | Angelinem's Blog

  36. Pingback: Travel Theme Photo Challenge: Art « Canadiantravelbugs's Blog

  37. I love ancient art… it amazes me HOW they did it without the tools we have today. Check out these examples from Ancient Roma…

  38. Pingback: Travel Theme: Art | Chronicles of Illusions

  39. Jo Bryant says:

    This is really growing Ailsa…so glad you started the theme.

  40. Pingback: Travel Theme: Art | Four Deer Oak

  41. Anne Camille says:

    Neat mural. Penn Station can give me a headache, but I think this mural would give me a smile.

    Here is my contribution for this week’s theme:, about finding man-made art in natural places.

  42. adinparadise says:

    What a lucky find, Ailsa. Love the circus theme paintings. Thanks for the new theme. 😉

  43. pommepal says:

    Love this weeks theme, travel for us is all about art and history and people. Great photos of the circus in the subway

    • ailsapm says:

      Loved your introduction to the works of Hans Heysen, and how wonderful to see where he drew his inspiration from. xxx

  44. Pingback: Travel Theme : Art « gypsy life

Comments are closed.