Tony “Rubin” Sjöman brings his art to Westchester for the first time, commissioned by RXR Realty to bring life to a mural in their new luxury Yonkers rental, Sawyer Place, that overlooks the Hudson River.
The Sawyer Place mural by Sjöman
Once commissioned by RXR in the summer of 2019, Sjöman visited Sawyer Place and took special interest in the views from the roof, where an onlooker can see both the sunset over the Hudson River and the Manhattan skyline. This contrast served as the main concept of his mural, inspiring a city-versus-nature creation.
Rubin painting the Sawyer Place mural
To prepare for his first time in Yonkers, Sjöman researched the city’s local artists and culture, citing the Metro-North commute from Grand Central Station as one of his aesthetic highlights.
“My responsibility as an artist is to do my research and make sure I know where I’m painting. It’s also about being respectful to where you are painting,” he says. “It all goes back to creating something that’s a good fit.” In addition, Sjöman also spent time looking at some of Westchester’s more historic artwork, along with photos of sunsets over the Hudson.
American Express SPG – W-Hotel, Miami 2018
Todd Rechler, Chief Construction and Development Officer at RXR Realty, notes Sjöman’s process is what drew RXR to him in the first place. “RXR was drawn to the overall aesthetic of Tony’s work,” says Rechler. “We like that his process involves a deep exploration of the neighborhoods he works in and that he draws inspiration from the local environment and community,” especially since Sawyer Place is located within a thriving arts district.
Amagansett, New York – 2018
Once visiting the first model unit at Sawyer Place, Sjöman felt instantly connected to the colors and the areas mix of old and new architecture. The process of sketching the mural and deciding the colors took about one to two weeks, while the painting and installation process lasted ten to twelve days.
A river view of Sawyer Place in Yonkers
One of the most interesting things about the mural is its location on site. “RXR commissioned the mural for the Main St. Garage to enhance the sense of arrival for residents and improve the overall aesthetic for the local community,” says Rechler.
Asbury Park, New Jersey, 2016
On any average day, “You’re going down to your garage to go to work there’s not much else to it,” but Sjöman “hope(s) there’s new things to discover.”
Manhattan, NYC, 2016
RXR is no stranger to supporting local arts. The company previously held an arts competition at its 360 Huguenot property in New Rochelle. Of course, Sjöman is no stranger to public art, having his work displayed in Miami, Los Angeles, New York City, and even overseas in Europe, continuously drawing inspiration from his Scandinavian heritage.
With that being said, the mural at Sawyer Place does differ from his previous work. His goal was to “create something that’s maybe a little bit more visually vibrating than I do usually. I wanted to do something to create a little bit of a wow effect.”
World Trade Center, NYC, 2016
While to Sjöman the mural features three different sunsets, he stresses that at the end of the day the interpretation is up to the viewer, admitting “you don’t need to know art history to appreciate art.”
“What I love about art is that it creates a dialogue. It helps people to put down their phone for a little while. It gives them a mind break from hectic everyday life,” says Sjöman. “It’s difficult in this time and age to grab peoples’ attention. There’s so much stimulation everywhere, but if is just makes you stop and think, even if it’s for a little while, that itself is worth all the hard work from me.”