There are not many places you could wear a bear suit and get away with it. The New York City train system is—as it is in most cases—an exception to this rule. Thanks to the work of illustrator Sophie Blackall, all those with a furry fixation can feel safe in the knowledge that there is space in the world for them.
This short film is part of a series called Handmade Portraits put together by the team at Etsy. It features Blackall’s illustration, which is the latest art to be featured on the New York City train system as part of the MTA Arts For Transit initiative. Directed by Alex Rappoport, it shows how Blackall’s love of the city combines with her love of humanity, most profoundly those characters who people the public transportation system.
Sophie Blackall is as interesting to look at in this film as her illustrations. She speaks with warmth about her adopted city, and the passion which she saves for people is truly infectious. It is this passion that has informed her latest book, her first for adults. Titled Missed Connections, Blackall compiled the book by trawling Craigslist’s personal classified ads. These are not the sleazy kind you find near the Escort sections in the back of newspapers; these are those bittersweet personals which speak of a chance connection between strangers, something profound enough that it lingers in the memory and prompts a search across the universe via the powers of the Internet.
In honor of Blackall’s work, the New York Transit Museum is holding a Love-In Transit Party for missed connections on 14 February 2012. If you’re lucky enough to live in NYC, you can see Blackall’s work in your local subway now.