Sketchy Subway Artist

Excerpt from “An iPhone Artist Haunts the Subways,” by Emily B. Hager, New York Times, October 22, 2010:

R train. 10/21/10 (Eric Molinsky) Click here to watch video. Eric Molinsky does not like to get caught. One recent afternoon on a Manhattan-bound R train, Mr. Molinsky, a freelance radio producer and inveterate people-watcher, slid into position. He scanned the not-yet-packed car. At one end, two aging New York dames laughed. Mr. Molinsky, 39, set his sights on the blonde.

He is not a stalker. He is an artist who secretly draws fellow subway riders on his iPhone, and has collected scores of New York characters on his blog. “Usually if my cover is blown,” Mr. Molinsky explained, “it’s kind of a slippery slope to the drawing just not really happening in the end.” Using his index finger and the application Sketchbook, he quickly drew a crude black-and-white outline of the woman’s face and then began to add layers of color. A base of skin tone, yellow for her dyed hair, green spectacles.

The woman looked up. “It doesn’t really affect my drawing if they know I’m drawing them,” Mr. Molinsky said. “But it does make me a little bit more self-conscious about it and makes me wonder if they’re going to come over and take a look and maybe say, ‘Hey I don’t look anything like that.’ ”

Read the entire City Room post…

See also: The Subway Issue, “the first-ever themed issue of The Times’s Sunday Metropolitan section.”