New Yorker Draws Sketches Of Masked Strangers On The Subway, Captures The Spirit Of The Times

Devon Rodriguez is known for his subway oil paintings of unsuspecting subjects. He has now taken to drawing sketches with a pencil while on the subway. His TikTok has several process videos of it, with some of them climbing over a few million views. The artist is also selling these sketches on his website if you’re interested in owning them.

Devon says that his work is about documenting the world around him, typically on the NYC Subway. His job is not to direct reality, but to let reality lead him. He likes to remain hyper-aware of what’s going on and tries not to disturb his subjects in any way.

More info: devonrodriguezart.com | Instagram | tiktok.com

Image credits: devonrodriguezart

Image credits: devonrodriguezart

The author has also told Bored Panda what it’s like to be drawing these people: “I’m curious about people, how they operate, what they wear, how they interact with the world around them, etc. Even when I’m not drawing, I’m watching people and thinking about their nuances and the different mannerisms that people adopt. They’re a perfect subject for me to draw. When I’m drawing, it’s like meditation. As I’m rendering their forms and clothing, I’m pondering things like ‘what does their body language say about them? How does the way they present themselves describe their psyche?’”

Image credits: devonrodriguezart

Image credits: devonrodriguezart

Image credits: devonrodriguezart

And Devon isn’t using his opportunity to draw these sketches just so he can practice the art that he’s been immersed in for 8 years—it’s more than that. “I see a greater meaning in this endeavor. The subway has been a subject of mine for several years now. Faces are a thing that I’m so used to capturing on the subway and now most of them are covered up with the COVID-19 masks. I think it’s interesting to capture this devastating moment in time with art. It’ll reflect 2020 when I look back on them in the future. It’ll be interesting to capture the different types of masks people wear and how they wear them.”

Image credits: devonrodriguezart

Image credits: devonrodriguezart

“I’m going to continue the sketch series for a while. I’ll be making one a day every day for the next few weeks, at least.” And since he’s not stopping any time soon, keep following him on his social media to get updates on the series.

TikTok Video by Devon Rodriguez

Image credits: devonrodriguezart

Devon Rodriguez in his studio in the Bronx, New York

Image credits: Jacob Pritchard

Devon Rodriguez was born in the Bronx, New York, and has been published in The New York Times, The New Yorker, and been featured in numerous other articles. His love for New York is evident in his artwork. He currently has a portrait of his mentor showing at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, and his self-portrait will be exhibiting at the Wausau Museum of Contemporary Art this fall.

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I curate and publish artists and poets. Read more »

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