Well I suppose I am a little late in posting these pictures… but that is the problem with me, I take so many damn photographs I am late with posting up all of them. Plus my shoulder still hurts quite a bit, so by the time I get home from work after using the computer all day, the last thing I want to be doing is messing around on my own computer. I guarantee you that a big part of it is probably poor posture and sitting hours at a time in front of the computer making silly websites. I’m trying to catch up though, I swear. I still have train-related Japan and Canada photos I’d love to post, timetables to scan (I purchased a new scanner for this!), plus photos from the Transit Museum’s newest exhibit, highlighting the Arts for Transit works around the MTA network.
In addition to the exhibit, there were also a couple tours through the museum to see some of the Arts for Transit works. A few weeks ago I went on one of those tours, we went to see Departures and Arrivals, by artist Ben Snead, in Jay Street-Borough Hall station. The tour ended with a trip to Ben’s studio, where we got to see some of his previous work, and the things he is currently working on.
Departures and Arrivals is a glass mosaic, based on original paintings by Snead (these paintings are actually at the Transit Museum for the exhibit). Snead’s work often pictures insects, reptiles and fish, and with this mosaic that theme carries through. On the tour Snead discussed why he chose the various animals displayed on the wall, and perfect for a train station where people come and go every day, the underlying theme is the migration of these animals. All of those displayed in mosaic form – sparrow, lion fish, koi, parakeet – are all animals not native to the city, they were introduced by people, or migrated on their own. The beetle, which is screened onto the larger white tiles, is a species native to this area – though it is disappearing due to humans encroaching on its habitat.
Mosaics always amaze me, as I figure they aren’t the easiest thing to create, and rather labor intensive. Although Snead created the initial design, it was from his paintings that the mosaic was fabricated by Franz Mayer of Munich. Snead mentioned that there was a bit of color shifting from his original designs, but it came out very well. If you look closely the piece is not entirely created from many small tiles, there are some larger pieces of glass used for feathers, and for beaks. This was partially done to save money, I remember hearing during the tour, but I don’t see it as hurting the piece, I rather like the effect.