NYC subway artist captures 'moment in history we've never seen before'

UNION SQUARE, Manhattan (WABC) -- At a time when most are still avoiding the subway because of COVID-19, artist Devon Rodriguez is drawn to the rails.

"I had to capture this, put in my art because this is a moment in history we've never seen before," Rodriguez said.

Having on a mask in New York City is now second nature and is also the driving force behind Rodriguez's latest project.

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The 24-year-old, who has been drawing people in the subway since 2011 after an art teacher showed him his book filled with images, is hyper-focused.

"I thought it was weird at first, being a kid from the Bronx," Rodriguez said. "I'm like, that's creepy, but then I was like that's cool, so I started."

People now pay top dollar for his work -- there's a wait list to be sketched. On Instagram, his 30,000 followers exploded to more than 350,000 in one month.

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Even Governor Andrew Cuomo included a sketch in his daily COVID-19 update.

"I was like, what Andrew Cuomo, is this real," Rodriguez said. "A bunch of people forwarded to me."
As for Rodriguez's training, that's as interesting as his creations. He graduated from the High School of Art and Design and got into Fashion Institute of Technology, but after only one year he dropped out.

"I had a bunch of commissions to deal with and had a bunch of school projects," he said.

Rodriguez ultimately chose his career.

"I always wanted to succeed as an artist and now it's happening," he said.

A kid from the South Bronx living his best life.

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