Yesterday I noticed someone had tried to draw a window on the floor of the subway station. Either this mysterious artist had to catch a train or run from the police for the vandal act, so it was left unfinished in what could only be misinterpreted as a swastika. Unfortunately, I had to catch a train, too. After work I saw that it was still there. Here it is:
I thought maybe by tomorrow it would be gone, but I was wrong. I did not bring a marker to help finish his/her work, so I couldn’t help the artist in what was clearly a secret collaborative performance art piece. After another day of work I forgot to bring a marker back home and I saw that the window was still there and still could be mistaken for a symbol of hate. I thought maybe I should hit the red emergency button and notify a subway employee, but I felt that this would rob myself and the unknown artist of the conclusion to the performance. I got a marker and went back to the scene of the crime. I finished the window:
But I’m not a very good artist, and I have been inundated by corporate logos all my life so the window looked more like Windows. I didn’t want to make an illegible ironic comment on our times from what was clearly a piece not meant to be politicized, so I took a breath and resolved to be arrested. After taking another few seconds to improve the work here is the final image:
I decided on a landscape image to contrast with the subway interior. The surrealism of looking out a window (through the floor!) on a yard under sunshine, a horizon, a seemingly cliche nuclear family-styled house, and a cat/dog/bug thing frolicking in said sunshine I hoped would pull people out of their dreary subway ride. I decided to go against my own wishes for a night scene in a graveyard because that’s what would make me smile and I understand that horror isn’t everyone’s “happy place.” I chose to draw an ambiguous animal for similar reasons. Some people prefer cats, others dogs, and a very few prefer bugs (sorry reptile lovers! I did not forget you, the medium just did not translate!). I chose to do broad strokes in black marker to match the original artist’s medium and style so there is consistency and the illusion of one idea instead of two opposing values. I also chose simple detail and line structure because I was on borrowed time before the police arrived and because the simplicity allows for the viewer to immediately capture the emotion of the image without being burdened by realism.
My only hope is that no one sees the hate anymore, or at least they see how easy it can be changed.