There are few things more interesting than a mystery artist who draws people in public. After stumbling upon artist Hamilton Cline’s series of BART and Muni sketches, we asked him a few questions about himself and his work!
UpOut: Tell us a little about yourself – career, favorite restaurants, hobbies?
Hamilton Cline: I’ve been in SF for about five years now. I am a web tech teacher at the Academy of Art University. I think Boulevard has a fantastic cheese platter, but I’m especially partial to Mona Lisa for dinner. I tend to get coffee and a sandwich at The Roastery. Mostly I enjoy walking the city. I love downtown, and I’ve walked probably every street by now.
UpOut: When did you start doing these sketches?
HC: I’ve always drawn people – I was a caricaturist in parks such as Valleyfair and Knotts Berry Farm. Drawing on the BART or MUNI keeps me spry and passes the time.
UpOut: Is it challenging to sketch on moving transportation? Do little mistakes just end up being worked into the composition?
HC: Muni can be rough, but BART is pretty smooth. There are no mistakes, only happy accidents. But digital lets me erase.
UpOut: What medium do you use?
HC: These days I mostly draw digital on my Samsung Note 3 in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro. I use a lot of microns, though, a lot of copics and prismacolors. I also use a lot of Japanese brushpens, pilots and pentels.
HC: Generally you pick someone who doesn’t look like they’ll move. Usually someone looking at their phone playing a game.
UpOut: Do you tell the person you are sketching that you are drawing them?
UpOut: How do people tend to react when they realize you are drawing them?
HC: Most don’t notice. Those that do, react a number of ways. I’m sure many pick up and leave although it could just have been their stop. Many continuously look up to see if, yes, I do keep looking at them. Most continue on as if nothing is happening.
UpOut: Any awkward encounters?
HC: The only awkward one would be a guy that I showed the drawing to as he was leaving and he told me I should’ve asked first. Not too awkward I guess, just the only one that ever said anything less than thankful.
UpOut: Anything else you want the world to know?
HC: Practice is an everyday thing. I’m sketching one Instagrammer every day this year. It’s less important that you make a resolution, and much more important that you set a schedule.
Update on 8/3/15:
All images courtesy of Hamilton Cline.