I won a commission from the NYC, MTA Arts for Transit program, in 2008. After submitting multiple projects for numerious stations, I actually landed a commission. I had no idea what I was in for, but I can say now, after all is said and installed, it was nothing short of a wonderful experience. The contract was daunting, working with a fabricator for the first time was scary, and the install - terrifying! Luckily the MTA was extremely experienced in working with artists, fabricators, and the type of install my work was to be realized as. The work was completed in faceted glass and epoxy, which is similar to cement. It is an above ground station, with the ocean a mere block away.
My paintings were translated into faceted glass panels by Erskin Michtell, who I choose because of his wonderful work and recommendation from a previous Arts for Transit artist that I contacted. Sure, a few snags happened along the way, like the install was way passed the contract date, due to the work on the station taking longer then expected. And they had to re-install one of the panels due to piping that could not be moved, blocking the image, but nothing major.
The after party was held at a bungelow in the Far Rockaways, hosted by a previous commissioned artist. Five artists had been chosen to install art, each at a station along the S line. I was thrilled to be included in this group, whose art will be taken care of by the MTA for the next 100 years. The MTA has open calls everytime they renovate a station. If you are an artist, and so inspired, go for it!
105 Beach Station, Rockaways
Orignial designs for the fabricator to work from when cutting out the faceted glass pieces.
CALLIE HIRSCH,Vast, 2011
As you make your way to the seaside, be on the lookout for Arts for Transit installations like this one, located at Beach 105th Street station in the Rockaways. The original aquatic-inspired artwork, created by artist Callie Hirsch and translated into faceted glass by Erskin Mitchell, catches and releases light reflected by the ocean and big sky of the Rockaways.
Hirsch, inspired by childhood experiences, explores the universe beneath the seas through her artwork. As a child, she was fascinated by the family fish tank filled with creatures taken from the ocean. As a teenager, her interest was heightened when she began sailing and scuba diving. The variety and vibrancy of life beneath the surface continues to be a major interest to her.
With a love for the Rockaway landscape, Hirsch says the ocean is one of the most desirable places on earth. Through Vast, she hopes to encourage viewers to acknowledge and respect the beauty of the sea and consider their own participation in the power and wholeness of the natural world.