‘Literary Journeys’ brings lit to BART

Ever been inspired by a poster in a BART station?

Probably not, since most of them are movie advertisements and reminders that Macy’s is having its two millionth sale of the year.

But take a chance and check the walls as you exit the terminal this week, and you might find yourself pleasantly surprised by the artistry that’s gracing them.

Fremont native and world-acclaimed artist Owen Smith, in partnership with BART’s communications team has created “Literary Journeys,” a series of artistry that depicts BART riders becoming part of some of the Bay Area’s most famous books.

Pretty cool coming from a guy who’s work has been shown in galleries from here to Milan.

Smith told BART Senior Web Producer Melissa Jordan in an interview:

“I like gallery work, too, but the BART posters don’t depend on someone going into a gallery to see them … It can be part of their daily lives, their daily commute.”

Smith, a teacher at the California College of the Arts, has sculpted and painted his way to 18 covers of The New Yorker, as well as the cover art for Grammy Award-winning albums. He even took his love of “transit art” to the east coast and designed a set of mosaics for the 36th Street Brooklyn subway stop in New York.

The BART poster series – the third series Smith has put together for Bay Area Rapid Transit – uses highly colorful and expressive imagery to depict riders reading works such as The Joy Luck Club, The Call Of The Wild, and of course The Maltese Falcon.

According to BART communications member Gina DeLorenzo:

“We want the artist to really think about the rider experience, and then bring to it their own interests and interpretation.”

There are 60 posters in the whole collection.