The backseat of a cab might be the last place anyone expects to find beauty and meaning, but that’s the ultimate goal of an art series produced by two local artists and the Green Cab of Madison taxi service.
Artist Thomas Ferrella and poetry curator Sara Parrell are working in conjunction with Green Cab to fuse photography and poetry in an unusual setting.
Ferrella said typically when people use a cab, there is one goal, one destination and one mindset. Cab riders are often caught up in their daily tasks and destinations, he said, adding that he wanted to “break that thought process with something beautiful and insightful.”
The “Hybrid: Transported by Word and Image” project is, most simply, a hybrid of two art forms: photography and poetry, Ferrella said. The pairing of cabs and art is a combination that causes many people to stop their daily routines and think about the art and what it’s saying, according to Ferrella.
Ferrella said the idea came from his “love of fusing art forms and getting them in front of people” in the most unexpected ways.
He took on this project with Parrell, who curated the poetry. Ferrella said Parrell is incredibly knowledgeable of the literary world and her partnership was hugely influential in the project.
Phil Anderson, general manager of the Green Cab company, said deciding to go through with the project was a no brainer.
“When [Thomas] Ferrella approached us with the project, we of course volunteered,” Anderson said. “We were happy to spread art and culture throughout the community.”
Anderson said Green Cab employees have been members of the Madison community for a long time, and contributing to the community is an important part of how the company does business.
The images in the cabs are all Ferrella’s, who said he is primarily focused on capturing beautiful moments. As for the poetry, Ferrella and Parrell used the work of 43 different poets to create 41 pieces.
Almost all of the poetry was written for this specific project; only three of the poems were previously published, Ferrella said. He said the project incorporates the work of incredibly recognized, connected and award-winning poets.
Each piece has one photo usually paired with one poem, although sometimes Parrell would combine two poems to create an additional form of hybrid. The art has been posted in 39 cabs around the city, Ferrella said.
Images of the full body of work, as well as the names and biographies of the writers are available on the Hybrid Facebook page.