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Meet The Gay Couple Featured On The Walls Of New York City's Newest Subway Line

The subway mosaic is believed to be the first permanent piece of LGBT public art in New York.

Posted on December 31, 2016, at 6:12 p.m. ET

New York City's long awaited Second Avenue subway already has a bunch of commuters waiting. Over three dozen mosaic portraits depicting everyday New Yorkers waiting for a train adorn the walls of the new line as part of a commissioned art piece by Vik Muniz.

Flickr: mtaphotos

Muniz based his piece, entitled "Perfect Strangers," on staged photographs of various people he knows in real life.

One pair of "strangers" featured is a local married couple, Thor Stockman and Patrick Kellogg, who are depicted holding hands. The couple told BuzzFeed News they got involved after a friend invited them to pose for a photo at the artist's Brooklyn studio.

New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority

Forty-seven-year-old Kellog, who currently works as a computer programmer, is pictured dressed in the overalls he used to wear as an electrician.

"We were given no direction on how to look. I think we are supposed to be standing waiting for a train — not really posing or smiling as you would for a personal portrait," Kellog said of their pose.

"Just average New Yorkers," he said.

Even though they were called in for a photo session, the couple never imagined they would be selected to appear in the final piece. "We assumed they were taking photographs of thousands of average New Yorkers," said Stockman. "The chances of being selected were next to zero, so we forgot all about it."

Thor Stockman

It would be several years later that they found out both their likenesses would appear on the subway walls.

"They are just people you would expect to see," Vik Muniz told Seattle Pi in an interview. "You would expect to see men holding hands."

As the only queer couple featured in the piece, images of Thor and Stockman spread all over the internet after a preview of the Second Avenue art project was released.

Facebook: GovernorAndrewCuomo

One criticism the couple noticed online is the sentiment that they are "too white" to be featured in the mural — a criticism Kellog admits the couple has to agree with.

"There should be more art in New York featuring people of color. More representations of gender," Kellog said. "I don't think Thor and I are supposed to represent the entirety of the gay community in New York City — there is no way we could."

Now married for over three years, the couple originally met online.

Thor Stockman

They were married at the city clerk's office in New York City, but traveled to Colorado for a dude ranch honeymoon.

"They say around 50,000 people will use that [subway] station every day," said Stockman. "I hope some of them look up while they rush to and from work and see how beautiful Muniz's work is — showing the melting pot and diversity that make up New York City. It's one of the reasons I love living here so much."

Thor Stockman

"To actually be a small part of a subway mosaic as spectacular as this one is unbelievable," said Stockman, whose grandfather created mosaic artwork in his retirement.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.