Christopher paints in the moment in New York City

Tom Christopher

South Salem’s Tom Christopher and fellow painter Andy Hammerstein worked on their paintings in full view of the public in Manhattan, typically starting in the afternoon and working into the evening. Mr. Christopher is photographed above during different times of day with varying amounts of pedestrians peering in. (Courtesy of Tom Christopher)

South Salem artist Tom Christopher, known for capturing the energy and vibrancy of the streets of New York in his abstract paintings, recently completed a live studio art project in New York City — composing works in front of streams of pedestrians at the iconic Brill Building near Times Square.

“What I think people find interesting is the process of watching anyone work on something,” Mr. Christopher told The Ledger last week after completing the project, which ran through the first few weeks of July. “It’s a live studio so you get to see the mistakes and blunders artists make, along with some moments of success. People stop and see how a painting starts with pencil sketches and the photos. They then visit a few days later to see how it’s coming along. [It] demystifies the process — like seeing a Ford truck assembly line or watching musicians set up in an orchestra pit.”

Tom Christopher

Tom Christopher painting while in view of the public at the Brill Building in Manhattan. (Klaus-Peter Statz)

The Brill Building project was a cooperative initiative featuring Mr. Christopher and Andy Hammerstein, a painter also known for his works on New York City.

“We have both been obsessed with painting NYC and Times Square for years,” said Mr. Christopher, who has an art gallery and studio in Croton Falls. “Andy is a great painter and I think we both saw a new direction and jump with this experience of a month on Broadway. Watching the light reflections in the street after rain, patterns of constantly changing LED signs, waves of thousands of people an hour looking in or passing by, light streaming down the street when Manhattan becomes like Stonehenge with the sun setting directly down the avenues. A lot of information to sort out and pack in the pieces. Sometimes all you need to settle it down is a rendered walk — ‘don’t walk’ sign or a shadow of a bike on the street.”

The exhibition was made possible by Eric Hadar and Allied Partners, who allowed the artists to use the street-level studio space free of charge.

“An art patron in the classical sense,” Mr. Christopher said of Mr. Hadar.

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