Funded! This project was successfully funded on March 19, 2012.

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I want to paint a portrait of every subway station on the F train, all 45 of them. Help me along and get cool stuff from the trip.

I like it underground. Always have.

Growing up, we always played in the basement. My bedroom was in the basement. My current painting studio is in a basement. My favorite bar, favorite restaurant, favorite coffee shop - basement, basement, basement. So it should come as no surprise that I am fascinated with the New York subway system. It's one of my favorite things about the city, and I want to capture it in a series of paintings.

                                                                       Church and 18th, watercolor

Last year, after a trip to the city with my wife, I created a few paintings inspired by photos I had taken in various subway stations, usually taken when they were nearly empty. I was somewhat unprepared for the response the work has received.The most common comment I get is, “why didn’t you paint station (insert name here), or “if you ever paint (insert name here) station, let me know.”

Through discussing this work with others and attempting to discern what draws them to the subject matter, I've learned that most people with a New York connection have a strong affinity for a specific stop or a specific line in the transit system and think of it fondly. On the other hand, viewers who have never been to the city or experienced the subway frequently have stereotypically negative views of what they think the experience must be like.

What is interesting is that everyone seems to have a strong reaction – whether positive or negative.

I think I understand the allure. The subway system hosts one of the most elegant dance performances you will ever see, and it's free to anyone who takes the time to watch.

At every station, dozens and sometimes hundreds of times a day, a train load of passengers is delivered and you get to watch this amazing ballet of people moving quickly in both directions, instinctively finding the path of least resistance through the station either down into the tunnels or up to the concrete streets above. This dance often approaches - but rarely crosses - the line into chaos, then as quickly as it started, all of a sudden it's over. The train departs, and you're left with a moment of calm until the next train arrives and the dance begins again.

That calm moment between trains is what I want to capture for this project. In that moment, the station simply becomes a structure - one filled with amazing tile work, graffiti, and layers of grime earned over years of serving the city. I want to paint portraits of these locations. To take the time to really see them, and through my paintings hopefully help others to see the beauty that surrounds them every day.

                                                          6th Avenue Subway Wall, watercolor

For this project I want to spend time in New York with the specific purpose of capturing the identity of the F train. The reason I have selected this particular line is because of the diversity and span of New York City that the line supports. From Queens to Manhattan and on to Coney Island, riders on the F train experience all the city has to offer

To get the F Train painted, I need your help. I'm raising money to cover travel costs, paint, watercolor paper and supplies.

Your generosity will not go unrewarded, because I've created unique items that will only be available to Kickstarter supporters.

The column on the right lists the rewards you will receive at the various contribution levels. Please note - you can pledge any amount from $1 to infinity.

If you can't afford to give financially, maybe you know someone who can. Even if you can't pledge, please help spread the word to others who may be able to help via Facebook email, or just good old fashioned word of mouth.

Thank you for considering my project -  I am sincerely grateful for your support.

                                                                                     F Train, watercolor

Video shot by Ian Curcio, edited by Matt Brammer, and "Thank You, Lord for Sending Me the F Train" used with the permission of Mike Doughty. You guys rock.

FAQ

  • The song is "Thank You, Lord for Sending Me the F Train" by Mike Doughty. My wife and I had the pleasure of seeing him perform in Atlanta and to talk to him for a bit after his show. I told him about my project and he gave me permission to use his song to help me promote the project. Be sure to to check out his site http://www.mikedoughty.com/, buy his CDs, and go to his shows. His live performances are great. But of course, throw a pledge at "Portraits of the F Train" first.

    Thanks for the help, Mike.

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  • I'm psychic. Also, after the project is funded all of the backers will be given a short survey, which you will share with me where you want everything shipped and the size that you think you will want. I will compare these notes with what I already know your size to be and prove that yes I am psychic.

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  • Pledge $1 or more
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    2 backers

    My eternal gratitude, exclusive project updates on Kickstarter, and an invitation to a special "backers only" preview party of the finished paintings.

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  • Pledge $5 or more
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    23 backers

    All the $1 stuff plus one custom postcard mailed to you from New York and a lifetime's worth of "high fives" whenever I pass you on the street.

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  • Pledge $30 or more
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    44 backers

    All $5 level rewards plus a signed and numbered limited edition silkscreen print only available to Kickstarter backers.

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  • Pledge $60 or more
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    12 backers

    All $30 rewards plus a custom designed commemorative t-shirt only available to Kickstarter backers.

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  • Pledge $100 or more
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    16 backers

    All $60 level awards plus an original sketch done on site while I’m in the City riding the train.

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  • Pledge $250 or more
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    0 backers

    All $100 level rewards, plus a subway-themed souvenir.

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  • Pledge $500 or more
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    1 backer

    All $250 level rewards plus a signed, limited-edition coffee table book with images of all finished paintings, photographs and thoughts from the trip.

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  • Pledge $700 or more
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    0 backers

    All $500 level rewards plus a 22x30charcoal drawing of one of the stops.

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  • Pledge $1,000 or more
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    2 backers

    All $700 level rewards plus an 11x22 watercolor painting of one of the stops - you can even pick the stop (from any subway line; not limited to the F train).

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  • Pledge $2,500 or more
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    0 backers

    All $1000 level rewards except the painting will be upsized to a 22x30 watercolor of one of the stops - you can even pick the stop (from any subway line; not limited to the F train).

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Funding period

- (45 days)