(L to R) Artists (Top) Jose M. Loza, Alepsis Hernandez [her artwork shown], Wife of Cody Lusby, LP Ǽkili Ross’s Fiance, and LP Ǽkili Ross. (Bottom) Bodeck Hernandez, Kristina Ambriz and her daughter, and Cody Lusby with his daughter. (Photo: Saybin Roberson)
Metro has been consistently working to beautify its stations and create a sense of pride within its riders and employees. A new project and digital art series have been piloted at the new A-Line (formerly Blue Line) in Long Beach titled, “More People Than You Know.”

Tuesday, October 29, Metro and several artists gathered for a soft launch of the community-driven project. The goal of the project for artists was to create images that riders could see themselves in. Each portrait portrayed a different experience or point in place that shows appreciation and relevancy through intimate pieces.

“More People Than You Know” features beautiful portraits created by 12 artists from the local Long Beach and closely surrounding areas. Artists were recommended through curatorial advisors and organizations including the Long Beach Arts Council and advised to use real subjects to create images based upon their take of train-riders. Three pieces will also be displayed randomly on each TAP metro card that is given out.

Cody Lusby and Bodeck Hernandez placing their signature on kits with TAP Cards for riders (Photo: Saybin Roberson)

Metro’s leader in their Arts & Design program, Mayen Alcantara, was present at the soft launch and spoke about the meaning and inspiration behind this specific need-based addition to the new A-Line.

“This helps communicate how important our passengers are to LA Metro,” Alcantara says, “we’re hoping that customers see themselves or their lives depicted in these portraits. She details the overall project took nearly eight months to develop and finalize. Also noting there will be plans to expand the project to more stations, using artists near the specific stop.

“The beautiful part is that it’s really intimate. We can express the locality of it, but we’re hoping it is still universal and our passengers can see aspects of themselves and aspects of their lives,” Alcantara says.

Nearly every artist has a personal connection to Metro rail, rather personal use or a family member or friend. Each drew inspiration from their personal stories to produce colorful pieces, honoring those who ride the trains.

Artist Bodeck Hernandez used this opportunity to shed light on elder riders, as well as highlighting generational riders. His image features his mother who rode the train since moving to American from the Philipines 18 years ago and his adolescent niece/God-daughter.

“I kind of wanted to highlight elderly in the portrait, I feel like they’re an unheard voice in society,” Hernandez stated. “I just wanted her to see herself on the screen or on the TAP card, I’m really excited.”

“The train helped provide for our family, I feel like I’m just more involved with the community, I feel included.”

LP Ǽkili Ross and his fiance (Photo: Saybin Roberson)

Another artist, LP Ǽkili Ross “LPAE38” Ross was inspired by his fiance and muse, riding the A-Line, experiencing the LA-basin through the window of the train during her morning commute. He says this project and his piece means legacy, and “also to touch people lives that I’ve never met, will never meet or may never meet.”

Other artists captured the essence of students traveling to a from school, a mother and daughter learning the essential meaning of what a train and transportation are, and a celebration of street art.

The atmosphere was that of pride and gratitude, something every Metro rider can now experience themselves. With the A-Line train officially open, riders can view the artwork on the newly installed digital screens as well as at random selection, via their TAP cards and connect to each artist.

To learn more about the project, visit https://www.metro.net/about/art/more-people/.