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City Sketcher

Faced with an itch to travel and the need to stay in Boston, artist Laura Meilman ’10 decided to document in detail her adopted city.

Since then, she has sketched 60 stations of Boston’s subway system, or “T,” on a quest to draw them all. Meilman calls her drawings “T Scapes,” and she renders them in bright markers. In them she highlights the art installations, people, natural surroundings, and architectural features that make each T station unique. (To document the Porter Square station, for example, Meilman rode its towering escalator with her sketchpad… 10 times.)

Meilman says she finds these spaces surprisingly beautiful, and credits that understanding to her work at Earlham. As a junior, she depicted her surroundings during off-campus programs in Mexico and New York City. For her senior art project, she painted a series of nightscapes – magical realist oil paintings of the College campus after dark.

Laura Meilman's sketch book of 'T Scapes.'“I started looking at everything around me as something potentially magical,” she says. “Depending on how you frame your world, you can find magic and you can find beauty. In the T Scapes, I am kind of doing that same thing.”

But Meilman stops short of defining herself as a landscape artist. “I spent a long time at Earlham thinking really hard and doing a lot of soul searching, like ‘What kind of artist do I want to be?’” she says. “Then I had a revelation. I can’t think about what kind of art I want to make. I have to actually be making art. I have to practice.”

With 121 T stations to draw, Meilman will get lots of practice. After she finishes her certificate in illustration at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, she hopes to travel elsewhere and make artwork. 

Laura Meilman

Laura Meilman 2010, Graduate Student, School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Hometown: Ithaca, N.Y.

Major at Earlham: Art

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