Philippe Arman subway portrait

Philippe Arman, bassist of NYC metal and rock bands SOMNURI and The Advertisers, was recently waiting for the subway at Brooklyn’s Jay Street station. As he sat on a bench, not doing much of anything, he noticed a local artist, standing nearby, glancing his way and messing with a service change poster. Philippe thought it was strange but paid it no mind. Maybe you've already seen the drawing pictured above...

Little did he know that the artist was Devon Rodriguez whose hyper-real subway portraits have been featured in The New Yorker and The New York Times. (He was also a finalist for the Smithsonian's prestigious Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition in 2019.) The 24-year-old Bronx artist posts videos of his sketches in progress on his Instagram and Phillippe soon had multiple friends forwarding him the video of his portrait. It ended up getting over five million views after being featured on Instagram REELS. “It’s a humbling feeling when you become a subway creature with no real effort,” Philippe said. Here's the video:

Philippe reached out to Devon and asked to purchase the original drawing. The pair met on Bleecker St. in Manhattan where Devon gifted him the artwork. The meeting -- a bit of positivity in the middle of the pandemic -- was filmed by Devon’s friend for what became a second popular video, and you can watch it here:

Phillippe's band SOMNURI recently played an edition of monthly benefit livestream Slay at Home. You can watch below:

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