ANIMAL’s feature Artist’s Notebook asks artists to show us their idea sketch next to a finished piece. This week, performance artist Nate Hill shows us his handwritten notes for his new performance Imaginary Money, where he begs on the New York subway in exchange for ideas for art projects. 

Nate Hill is notorious for his public performances, from the Death Bear to the White Ambassador to the Chinatown Garbage Taxidermy Tour. His effect on his willing and unwilling audience ranges from ecstatic to very uncomfortable. We wouldn’t have it any other way. 

I was just trying to connect my ideas to random people on the train.

Each time I go out, I use two new ideas. It’s in the audio on my website. I mostly ride the 6 from 59th to 125th in Manhattan. I wanted to make a subway performance that was about ideas and found the beggar model a way in.

Here are my thoughts in my head when I start : Be calm and confident. Try not to have a panic attack. Don’t smile. Take it seriously. Project your voice. Don’t make too much eye contact. Be authentic. Don’t be ironic.

I go from train car to car and after a few minutes it just becomes routine. At this point I can only do 15 minutes of this at the most a day. It sucks because you’re naked and just as easily as you might make someone smile, another person is gonna ignore you or roll their eyes.

This was all written as a stream of consciousness.

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