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.
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.
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?
Love this – makes the London Underground look decidedly bland!
The tube, however, has a much nicer aroma 😉
Yep – I buy that, having been to Manhattan!
Looking forward to following your trek across Spain, David!
Thank you – am aiming to leave on 20th July, so watch this space! All the best & thanks for the follow.
David, will you be blogging your camino trek? The link dosn’t lead to your blog. Would love to follow along. I was planning to walk the camino in Sept but a foot injury may cause me to postpone.
Hey Anne, the correct link to David’s blog is http://walkingforequilibrium.com/
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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 🙂
Oh boy, I loved those Artboxes, they’re so much fun!
🙂 yeah they are!!
I love the glass mosaics you found underground. I love street art and we have a lot in our city. Thanks for sharing.
BE ENCOURAGED! BE BLESSED!
Glad you enjoyed my visit to the circus, Francine 🙂
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 🙂
Good stuff, Madhu, looking forward to seeing what you find!
Very cool Ailsa! 🙂 Great theme…great pics.
Thanks strawberryindigo, hope you have fun with this week’s theme! 🙂
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
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!
It’s wonderful art.
It really was the most welcome surprise on that hot summer commute 🙂
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.
Winters makes the subway much more bearable, Gemma, so I hope all the work was done then, and not in the neights of summer 🙂
That is a creative and beautiful glass mosaic, and it’s in the subway tunnel. How cool! Thank you, Ailsa!
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!
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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!
Nicely done, Nicole. Have a great vacation, and lots of ice cream!
I will! Thanks! Have a great holiday week too!
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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
Great shots, both of them, marina! The C-Art one made me laugh out loud 🙂
The pictures were clicked in the lanes of Chueng Chau Island, Hong Kong
Beautiful, I am tempted to do a fish mural on my wall after seeing that 🙂
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Many thanks, Ailsa, for your inspiration. Here’s my arty submission: http://soundslikewish.wordpress.com/2012/06/30/ailsas-travel-photo-challenge-art/
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.
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.
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. http://canoecommunications.wordpress.com/2012/06/29/street-art/
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 🙂
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Wow these are really lovely! I wished my station had murals like these too~~~ >_<
They certainly brightened my day, Vanessa 🙂
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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’:
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!
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Amazing “Art” Here’s my contribution http://campanulladellaanna.wordpress.com/2012/06/30/travel-theme-art/ Thank you very much @Ailsa and friends, hope enjoy it 😀
Those giant boots are awesome, Della Anna – love it! 🙂
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Lovely shots again Ailsa. Here’s mine. http://ayearinmyshoes.wordpress.com/2012/06/30/travel-theme-art/
Gorgeous, those colours are magnificent, Dale Chilhuly at the top of his game!
For sure. I loved walking through there!
Fantastic mosaics, very uplifting better then those tunnels of dreary walls that feel will never end!
So true, gingerbreadcafe, it made an adventure out of an otherwise tedious commute!
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Hi Ailsa, Here is my entry for Travel Theme: Art. The Bridal Mural: http://wp.me/p23TG1-VC
BE ENCOURAGED! BE BLESSED!
It’s really lovely, Francine. Great capture. xxx
Art translating art: http://wp.me/p16vHM-lT
Beautiful, Miguel, such a striking image.
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A very inspiring post. Art makes us feel alive. Gives colors to our world.
So much fun, Mr B. It’s so great to see children enjoying art – that self portrait is fabulous 🙂
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Hello Ailsa, this is my contribution! Have a nice weekend! http://ingriddendievel.wordpress.com/2012/06/30/travel-theme-art/
Smoldering hot! Love it 🙂
here’s. Mine for the week,
Gleaming! Any idea what it was supposed to be? Lovely light in your photo. 🙂
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 –
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!
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Rather big graffiti: http://mothergrogan.wordpress.com/2012/07/01/travel-theme-art/
HUGE graffiti – I love the wall of massive lettering on the right 🙂
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Here I go; I’ve decided to join up. http://angelinem.wordpress.com/2012/06/30/project-365-day-216-travel-theme-art/
Nice one, Angeline – I love that it was there waiting for you when you got out of your car! 🙂
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I love ancient art… it amazes me HOW they did it without the tools we have today. Check out these examples from Ancient Roma…
Great shots, CTB, and I loved the story too! xxx
Thanks for the “happy dance” 🙂
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This is really growing Ailsa…so glad you started the theme.
Art as a form of self-expression, sweet ride 🙂
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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: http://wp.me/p1tzBV-1sP, about finding man-made art in natural places.
I wonder where those blue flags came from. 🙂
What a lucky find, Ailsa. Love the circus theme paintings. Thanks for the new theme. 😉
Looking forward to your interpretation, ad. xx
Love this weeks theme, travel for us is all about art and history and people. Great photos of the circus in the subway
Loved your introduction to the works of Hans Heysen, and how wonderful to see where he drew his inspiration from. xxx
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