Wendy MacNaughton is drawing you on Muni

We found artist Wendy MacNaughton on 7×7.com earlier this week. Wendy draws people on Muni, BART, and other public transportation on their way to and from work five days a week, twice a day, imagining their thoughts and dreams. We caught up with her to ask her more about her amazing drawings on Muni. She also sent us some more of her drawings done on the bus. In her own words:

I went to an incredible art school for my undergrad (Art Center College of Design), but life took some turns and I stopped drawing for almost a decade. Years later, I found myself commuting from Oakland to San Francisco and back again on BART, with 20 minutes of free time each way and I started drawing the people I saw around me. It was like having professional figure drawing models, except with more interesting features, life histories in their eyes and ties, and they weren’t naked. I still have the first drawing I did — and I’ve drawn every transit ride since.

I draw on the bus and paint at home, using micron pens and watercolor, mostly, with some ink thrown around every once and a while. I don’t sketch. Everything I draw is permanent, for better or worse.

When I draw on the bus, generally people don’t notice. People are immersed in their thoughts or lists or regrets. Or their books. Or iPods, or games, or sleeping.  If they do notice me drawing them, they usually smile. They might be a little embarrassed or flattered, or maybe pretend they didn’t see me, but the smile seeps out. A couple of people have been upset — either refused or got a little physical, But no permanent damage has been done.

You can find Wendy on the 10, the J, the 12, or southbound BART. And here’s more of Wendy’s drawings — I love them all so much! Get this artist a commission! Enjoy.


  • I think these are really beautiful. Keep up the good work, and start selling these!

  • newreba

    i like the ones of the last 2 dudes…they look like they’re in the Russian mafia. 😉

  • Ken White

    These are excellent. I keep hearing more and more (and I predicted this as a child when the internet dawned on us) that “you can just go on reddit and every single artist/singer/sculptor/filmmaker/whatever is better than I could ever be”
    You can’t simply be the village blacksmith any longer – The larger the town or market, seemingly the more blacksmiths and the better you’d have to be to sell any of your wares since you aren’t the only game in town.

    But I disagree, even with myself. Not only is beauty in the eye of the beholder but that beauty which some beholder finds so special need also have been captured by the eye of the creator. So there’s not one giant town, one huge market you’re lost in but rather an infinite number of boutique markets for which you may create with exponentially higher exposure to potential viewers.

    These are good because they are good. Not because of the skill level (though it is high) and not because they are unanimously appealing (though I think they are quite marketable) but because they do what only real art can do: they steal an essential moment of real spirit and encapsulate it for us. We see what you saw with all 6 senses. Bravo.

  • Ken White

    I’m so sorry to double post – it won’t let me edit my first post. These really are brilliant. I think you should set up a website and do commissions (unless that’s just something that doesn’t inspire you – which essentially means you’d fail at it.)

    I’d love to have one of these in my home.

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