Share This

Subway Art Starts with Sharpie

Enrico Miguel Thomas

You know those wildly difficult-to-fold pieces of paper called maps?  Those oversized contraptions soon to go the way of GPS?  Well they’ve found new purpose. Thanks to Enrico Miguel Thomas, subway maps now have soul.

Enrico is a subway map artist.  He uses Sharpie markers to create magnificent works of art on subway maps.

Based in Brooklyn, Enrico got his start as a map artist after he discovered that Sharpie markers were the perfect medium to express his urban style. Using subway maps as his primary canvas, Enrico created a style — a genre, even – all his own.  Subway maps became the “drawing paper” that allowed him to express his unique perspective, including the incredible and inspiring views of New York City that capture his imagination.

Take a minute to get to know Enrico in our interview below — he won’t disappoint — and who knows, maybe you’ll find your way to a one-of-a-kind canvas that inspires you.

The Apple Store

Tell me about yourself. Where are you from? What are your interests, likes, dislikes? Pet Peeves welcome too. 

My name is Enrico Miguel Thomas and I was born in Los Angeles, California. I love to draw and always have. The legendary comic book artist, Stan Lee was one of my first artist role models. I used to constantly study how he drew his super heroes .

A good day for me is one hundred push-ups first thing in the morning, followed by a bottle of water and then off to my favorite cafe in Brooklyn, Le Petit, for some apple pie with an iced chai tea latte for breakfast. I am also a film fanatic and a huge X-Men fan and some day I would love to have a part in a cool action film! I am usually always a positive person and can’t stand when people don’t at least try to see the glass as half full instead of half empty. I admire people who have persevered through the greatest odds and keep going anyway!

What is inspires you to Uncap What’s Inside?

I first started using Sharpie markers in my second year at Pratt Institute. As a drawing major, I found Sharpie markers to be so easy to work with as a drawing tool. They were so compatible with virtually every drawing surface I tried whether it was paper, wood, or even foam core. After I graduated, I stuck with them and have always insisted on using them. While at Pratt and afterwards, I began to draw lots of architecture and nothing compared to the black Sharpie Marker! They always had such a smooth feel on the paper’s surface.

Eventually, I would try using a subway map as drawing paper and Sharpie markers were perfect for this new drawing surface! The beautiful architecture in New York City and the cool subway trains and stations inspired me to go out and draw. I love the challenge of creating the illusion of a three dimensional space on a two dimensional drawing surface.

Also, my childhood was very difficult so art has always been a refuge for me and always gave me a great feeling of accomplishment. It gives me a new identity as an artist instead of someone who had a difficult early life.

HSBC Bank

How do you use Sharpie markers in your work?

In my work, Sharpie markers are used in a way that I think is a metaphor for a part of my personality, which is that of a fighter and someone who perseveres. I can take a package of Sharpie markers and create a colorful drawing that looks as though it was created with the most expensive art materials. e.g. oil paints, acrylic paints, etc. For example the Sharpie Silver Metallic marker works perfectly for the color of the subway cars that I draw on the subway maps. The bottom line for me is that it doesn’t matter how much you have without. Instead, it is what is within that matters. If the will power is there you can create with anything. This is what “Uncap what’s inside” means to me.

How would you describe your style? 

My style is all about speed. The speed of New York City. I love to draw quickly so my style is definitely illustrative and architectural but can also be classified as fine art.

How did you get started?

I started drawing at the age of eight. I remember being in an art class when I was about thirteen and the teacher would say, “Enrico it is time to go”, but I would want to stay and finish my drawing because I loved art so much. I continued to take art in high school and college and always received encouragement to keep doing it from family and teachers alike.

You have really put a new spin on “following the map” – tell us the story behind using subway maps as your “canvas.”

I started using subway maps because I wanted to try a new challenge. Life without challenges is pretty stale so I gave it a go even though I wasn’t sure if I would like the result. To my surprise, using subway maps as drawing paper, added the additional challenge of working with the colors already present on the map. It wasn’t always easy collaborating with the map but I was determined to make it work. This is the message that I would like my art to send out to the world. In life you have to keep trying until you are happy with yourself. You have to refuse to give up!

The city really seems to inspire you and your art; do you have a favorite subject or a place in the Big Apple where you find inspiration?

My favorite place in the city, by far, is New York City’s upper west side at 72nd Street. There is a huge exterior subway station there with a smaller one behind it and in the background, beautiful tall buildings that provide the perfect backdrop for the negative space of the drawing. I have always found this space to be architecturally fascinating.

Your art has a really cool “sketch” effect that I can imagine is hard to create with a permanent marker! Do you free-hand your work or plan them out first? 

I definitely free-hand all of my drawings. It is just a gift that I am very thankful to have and it has been a wonderful refuge for me all my life.

The New York Philharmonic

Franklin Street Station

How do you decide what you want to tackle next, slash can you tell us what you ARE working on next?

I basically just walk around until something that I find beautiful “catches my eye.” And then watch out because Enrico Miguel Thomas goes to work on the spot and basically doesn’t leave till the drawing is complete – just like I did in Junior High School! There was this one time about two months ago, when I was working on two interior watercolors of the New York City 72nd Street Station and my work session didn’t end until about 5am! Right now I am working on a subway map drawing of the New York City Freedom Towers that are actually still under construction.

Do you have a soft spot for one of your designs in particular?

I definitely have drawings that are favorites. I love my 72nd Street drawings and my Flatiron building drawings.

72nd St on Subway Map

Best part of your “day job”?

I decided after Pratt Institute, to give my life to my art so it is all I currently do. I believe that when you make up your mind to do something nothing is impossible. “As a man thinketh, so is he.” – James Allen

If you could have one super power what would it be and why?

To fly so I could travel for free. First stop…Paris!

If you could have dinner with one person, living or dead, who and why?

Denzel Washington because I think his work is amazing!

Finally, what are you just JAZZED about for 2012 (trends, upcoming projects, personal life)?

In 2012, I am really looking to branch out even more as far as additional exhibitions of my work. I am also going to study more acting. Studied some already about five years ago at H.B. Studios here in New York City. Also looking into doing art work in Amsterdam and Paris.

Check back to see what Enrico Starts next and be sure to follow him on Twitter @NYCSubwayArtist for daily updates.

You can read more about Enrico here:

Share This

YOUR SHARPIE ART ON MTV?!?!

WELCOME TO YOUR AUDITION.  HAVE A SEAT. 

 

[Image via http://www.etsy.com/listing/103782553/custom-comic-superhero-wingback-chair]

JUST A FEW QUESTIONS BEFORE WE GET STARTED: 

Are you a Sharpie doodler who turns out cool Sharpie designs, like on your shoes or jeans or backpack ? Or maybe on less obvious things like your mom’s styrofoam wig holder?

Whenever you pick up a Sharpie marker, are you insanely driven to write, draw or doodle on something, anything, NOW?

Insane doodler

Are you a serious artist who makes blow-your-hair-back art using Sharpie products?

Coffee cup artist Cheeming Boey, a Sharpie partner in inspiring others to start something.

Do you just want to be famous and are willing to pick up a Sharpie product to get noticed?

Being famous to be famous is so not the point. Earn your fame by creating something cool with Sharpie.

OK, THANKS.  NOW LET’S GET STARTED.

THE “START WITH SHARPIE” CHALLENGE GIVES OUR

AMAZING FANS A START AND A STAGE IN OUR FIRST-EVER MUSIC VIDEO

PREMIERING DURING THE MTV VMAs!!

So that’s the headline but more importantly, here’s how your Sharpie art can make its way into Sharpie’s music video:

  1. Make something fantastical with Sharpie!
  2. Take a picture and upload it to our gallery by August 6.
  3. Then on September 6, watch the VMAs and look for our commercial, a 60-second music video-style TV ad made up of fan art from the Challenge submissions to the Sharpie gallery - maybe even yours!
  4. Bust a move!  So you’re sitting on the couch Tweeting your friends about Kanye and Kim at the VMAs when all of the sudden you see YOUR Sharpie art on TV!  You immediately spill your Chili Cheese Fritos and text your mom (who’s in the kitchen refilling your Camelback with kool-aid).  Done.  You’re famous!
  5. What now?!?!?!   Head over to Sharpie’s Facebook page and watch it again…and again…and again.  Share it everywhere and with everyone. Tweet us @Sharpie –more surprises happening that day on Twitter, so be sure to follow.

AND FOR THE RECORD (because everyone will ask) the band making its debut in the Sharpie VMA video is none other than California Wives performing their just released soon-to-be-hit single “Purple” (like as in PURPLE SHARPIE but really not so much about PURPLE SHARPIE).

The boys of California Wives!

Band members Joe O’Connor (drums), Jayson Kramer (vocals, guitar, keys), Dan Zima (vocals, guitar, bass) and Graham Masell (guitar, vocals) are getting their start with Sharpie, too, by appearing in our TV ad, so visit them on Facebook.  Here’s what they had to say about starring in our campaign:

“As we get ready to release our first album, we are really excited to be working with Sharpie,” said California Wives’ singer and guitarist Jayson Kramer. “Looking through all of the user-submitted art, we could tell that sharing ideas and promoting creativity is something that Sharpie is really passionate about. As a band, it’s easy for us to stand behind that. We are excited to provide our music as the backdrop for that type of creative environment.”

Ok, so what if WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH I DIDN’T SEE MY SHARPIE ART IN THE VIDEO?

Immediately following the video debut, fans will be able to create their own custom version on Sharpie’s Facebook page, adding their Sharpie artwork to create their own personalized music video.  This is a first.  You won’t want to miss this because how often to you get to make your own music video featuring your own Sharpie art?  Like, never!

Get Inspired! 

Our goal is to make everything we do about our fans, so we’re shining our spotlight on a couple of our most prolific and talented Sharpie creators, starting with dumpster-diver-glass-artist Emmy Star Brown and her amazing window creations.  Emmy is helping us introduce our new Gold and Bronze Metallic markers in our new TV ads. Gold and Bronze colors are joining the Silver Metallic marker in our shiny Sharpie lineup.  More heavy on the metals below…Check out her work:

Our very own gold star, Emmy Star Brown, Sharpie 2012 Advocate!

Sassy in silver

Sharpie brings home the Gold!

Sharpie Bronze, Baby!

And soon enough, you’ll be tracking Enrico Miguel Thomas, subway map artist also appearing in our TV ads.  He creates amazing subway art using our new Sharpie Brush Tip markers…stay tuned!

NEW PRODUCTS FROM SHARPIE – BRING IT!

Sharpie fans, get ready to SCORE with these new Sharpie products, hitting store shelves just as you’re heading out to stock up on school supplies (remember, while school can sometimes be a drag, school supplies are almost always FUN!).

Sharpie Metallic Permanent Markers:Joining the Sharpie Silver Metallic marker are new Gold and Bronze colors!  These are AMAZING and so fun to create with.  Their brilliant sheen sparkles on both light and dark surfaces.  Shine on!  And just in time for all that sports stuff happening in London this summer ; ) : )Now that’s some heavy metal!

Sharpie Brush Tip Permanent Markers: These are the first Sharpie markers to feature a flexible brush tip so you can create fine lines, bold strokes and shading all with one marker.  These let you control the width of your lines—thick or thin—with the pressure of your hand. Perfect for shading and contouring. Available in a rainbow of bright colors.Sharpie Brush Tip Markers – so smooooooooooth!

Be sure to visit us on our Facebook page and on Sharpie.com for all the latest from Sharpie…what are you gonna start?

 

.