To New York with Love in Loss
About the Piano
Location: Willoughby Plaza, Corner of Pearl and Willoughby Streets, Brooklyn, NY
Hours: Dawn to dusk
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I wanted to create a piano that acts as a love letter and homage to the NYC subway. I've been in love with the NYC subways since I moved here 8 years ago. I think it perfectly represents the energy, diversity, and amazing mixture of history-laden solidity and the constant change and fluidity of NYC. Using multiple materials (including collaged newspapers, acrylic photo transfers, paint and drawing techniques) I created a somewhat surreal and disjointed world that highlights the labyrinthine architectural world of the subway system- tunnels, platforms, and trains - with a mix of realistic and abstracted people/portraits layered into this landscape. Found text (in the form of New York Times articles and advertisements from June 2016 and February 2017, subway advertising, and pieces of the post-election, subway therapy post-it wall) is layered under and into the piece as well.
I initially wanted to capture the diversity of the people who rely on this transportation system and how it can create both intimacy and anonymity. However, given current events - which for me were full of personal and national loss - I found myself imagining what these spaces would look like without all of us and the emptiness and decay that would result from our absence. I found myself painting empty stations and trains filled only with shadowy figures overlaying stories and images of a bustling and turbulent metropolis. Some sections are clear cut and unflinchingly realistic while others blur and shift, allowing the viewer to fill in the gaps in the visual story.
If you wait and watch, you will find all of humanity in the NYC subway. It is glorious ghastly and everything in between, and I wouldn't have it any other way. I created a piece that lets us reflect upon NYC as personified by this shared space and to recognize that all of it - the good, the bad, and the indifferent - is what makes us who we are - vital, flawed, and necessary.
About the Artist
Jessica Browne-White (aka DreamscapesInk) is a New York based multidisciplinary artist who focuses on visual and physical storytelling. She explores complexity, layered realities, and shifts in perception. Mystery, magic, and transformation also underpin her work. She believes we are all capable of imagining and re-creating the world as it isn't - yet. Her visual artwork has been displayed in group exhibitions in New York, New Jersey, Virginia, Washington DC, and Chicago. Jessi has been a Sing for Hope volunteer artist since 2013 and has created, or assisted in the creation of, six pianos to date. It has been a privilege and a pleasure to be part of an organization that spreads so much joy to so many people.