Artist brings Brooklyn to Scotland 259


By Michael MacLeod

A GLASGOW artist was so inspired by a New York subway station that he transformed his tenement toilet into one.

Complete with a station sign mosaic and Big Apple-style wire mesh around the bath, the subway shrine is the work of Scotland’s very own bathroom Banksy.

Going by the name ‘Travis the Trannyboi,’ artist Travis Reeves says he first dreamed up the ‘underground’ bathroom 21 years ago on a visit to Manhattan.

But New Yorkers were left flushed by the photos when they appeared online, with some believing a bath had been put in a real subway toilet.

Travis, 40, is just happy with his pals’ reaction when they spend a penny in his house.

He said: “It’s been a great way to distract from the smallness of the room, and visitors to the flat always open the bathroom door with a ‘Wow!’”

The former Edinburgh College of Art student even finished the tiling with black grout, “for that 100 year-old subway grime effect.”

He decided to base his bathroom art on Brooklyn’s DeKalb Avenue station, his local stop during a visit in the late 80s as a teenage student.

Australian-born Travis, who lives with his twin sister in Glasgow’s Albert Avenue, was so inspired by the artwork on the Fourth Avenue line that he decided to bring the memory home.

He said: “I arrived in New York City from Scotland to visit a friend and was immediately fascinated by the Subway.

“At the time, I remember saying that if I ever bought a flat, I would tile my bathroom with a New York subway station name.

“I was an undergrad painting student at the time, and returned to Scotland to begin making full-size replicas of mosaic-ed station names, complete with graffiti and running-water staining.”

The lavatory mosaic was a labour of love for Travis, who said he spent months cutting tiles for the signage.

On top of the tiling, he transformed the room’s borders to emulate green Victorian glazed brickwork, and covered the walls and ceiling with a concrete effect. 

He added: “I had to laboriously cut the tiles up into hundreds of half-inch squares, so there was quite a lot of wastage.

“The background was filled in after the letters had set, with the whole thing finished with black grout for that 100 year-old subway grime effect.”