Dream On

An inveterate subway traveler, Bolt sees the train as both muse and gallery. For years, she applied to open calls for artists from the MTA’s Arts & Design program, hoping they would display her work on a poster or in a station. “They have the best real estate—a lot of people take the train,” she explains. In 2017, she was a finalist in a competition to create a permanent installation for the Nostrand Avenue LIRR stop, in Brooklyn; though she didn’t win, an official from the program recommended Bolt’s work to a curator at the Hudson River Museum in Yonkers. The museum exhibited her surface design, “The Botanical Dreams in the Concrete Jungle,” on printed acrylic over a custom light box. “I was inspired by the stained glass windows from the Baptist church I grew up in,” she says. The East New York native developed her distinctive sketching practice in response to a suggestion from her teacher, Bil Donovan ’78, adjunct associate professor of Illustration. He appreciated her work but felt she needed to develop her drawing skills more.  “You’ll feel better when you create consistently,” he told her. She perfected her technique on her commute to and from FIT. She’s used her BS in Entrepreneurship to create her website and market her skills. For now, she still has a day job—as a CAD artist for the wholesale fashion company Golden Touch Imports. Last fall, the MTA commissioned Bolt to create a piece for its poster program to be displayed in train stations throughout the five boroughs. That drawing, "City of Dreamers," a map of New York City filled with an eclectic assemblage of her trademark dozing denizens, appears on the cover of the most recent print issue of this magazine.

Last December, she created a design for the New York Transit Museum’s 17th annual holiday train show in its Grand Central Station store. She also created a wallpaper for the MTA’s Holiday Train Show. This time, the curators had a request. To evoke the happiness felt during the holiday season, “they wanted me to put smiles on their faces and open their eyes.” No problem, Bolt told them. She drew her fellow travelers the usual way—napping—and added in the open eyes and smiles later.
The flora and fauna in this sketch were inspired by a trip to Costa Rica (above).
Bolt opened her subjects’ eyes when creating wallpaper for the MTA’s Holiday Train Show (image at top of page).