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NYC Subway captured on canvas using ink and bleach

19 June 2013

Lyndsey Boardman

UCLan student creates unique art

A University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) art student has created an eerie picture of the New York City Subway underground using an unusual painting technique combining ink and bleach.

Fine artist Francesca Aikman has painted two scenes of the Amtrak tunnel under Riverside Park in Manhattan and one of Preston Railway Station for comparison. She was inspired by photographs from a book called The Mole People by Jennifer Toth about homeless people who live underground in New York City’s subway system.

“I was intrigued by the idea of people living in hidden places in big cities cut off from the outside world. I wanted to convey a sense of decay and darkness through my work.”

The student from Preston was moved by the book’s stories of up to 5,000 people living in the innards of New York City and wanted to capture this for her final degree project.

The 22-year-old said: “I was intrigued by the idea of people living in hidden places in big cities cut off from the outside world. I wanted to convey a sense of decay and darkness through my work.”

Francesca’s unique way of painting uses layers of textile materials on canvas and painting each one with ink and bleach to create a textured piece of art. Each one took five weeks.

She added: “A friend gave me a copy of book and it instantly grabbed my attention. I’d love to visit New York and see the Subway myself to have a real feel of life underground.”

Francesca will begin a residency in Amsterdam in July for a project entitled Artists with Attitude where she will be given free studio space for a month.