This cabby is extra careful to avoid potholes — a big bounce could ruin a potential masterwork.
Fabio Peralta has turned the back seat of his yellow cab into an art studio for his passengers, and has commissioned thousands of works.
As soon as a passenger hops into his Crown Vic, Peralta, a 40-year veteran hack, hands the rider a pen and a stack of computer paper.
“I tell them to create art, any kind of art,” he said.
“I don’t care what it is. Whatever comes to their brain, I say.”
Passengers often hesitate at first.
But, incredibly, most put down the BlackBerry, pick up the paper and get to work as Peralta zips through and streets.
So far, he’s collected 7,000 sketches, which he binds into glossy booklets “when I have enough money,” he said.
The works in his most recent book, which includes about 24, range from an elaborate drawing of a hummingbird — “Live and appreciate life,” the artist wrote at the top — to mountain cabin scenes, to renderings of the Puerta de Alcala, a monument in Madrid.
“Doctors, lawyers, bankers will say, ‘Hey, I’m no artist.’ And I tell them they become one in my cab,” Peralta said.
“I never had a painting I didn’t like, no matter how bad it is,” added the cabby, who moved to Queens from the Dominican Republic when he was 18.
He’s had a few surprises along the way.
Some people will hand over X-rated sketches, he said.
Others will take the four to five pages and write confessions, which he usually doesn’t read “because that’s their business,” he said.
Peralta gives the books away for free — his last print run was for 2,000 — to any rider who participates in his newest project: 30-second video skits of his passengers.
“People do whatever. They wave to the camera, they talk about their day, they tell stories,” he said.
“I ask if they want to be filmed, and then I pull over in a safe spot.”
So far, he’s made videos of 214 passengers — he hopes to one day create a movie out of the takes.
Peralta says he asks for the artwork to take his passengers’ minds off their everyday stress.
“They have to enjoy the ride, not be worried about the things going on around them,” he said.
It’s also a good way for him to get a few extra tips, he admits.
“Sometimes people will hand over an extra dollar or two instead of waiting for change,” he said.
“Maybe one day I’ll cut a deal with Barnes & Noble and have the book in there.”