Thursday, January 29, 2009

Fireworks at Lake Michigan

This morning I was feeling a little homesick. And what I do when I feel homesick is stare at google street view for hours. And watch the "Homecoming" video on repeat for hours. And stare at MCAD's flickr for hours. Actually even though I was feeling down and homesick and whiney like a dumb baby, I just listened to homecoming a few times and didn't even get to wallow over street view or flickr because I had a very busy day today! OVER IT!

I learned how to letterpress today which I was really looking forward to. And mannnnnnnnnn oh man is it COMPLICATED! I thought it'd be a breeze. Little did I know there is a lot of math involved. It's like a giant confusing puzzle. But it's fun and it's so satisfying to see the results in the end. Jenny, Ramzy, and I spent hours getting our induction and then creating out page and printing and we have to go back in again tomorrow to finish our second color. Good thing it's fun!

Um other than that I worked at school for a few hours finishing a typography project that I'll have to print before critique tomorrow morning. And then I went home and immediately went grocery shopping before the store closed at 9. And it was actually really nice because on my way walking back I ran into a friend who I have only met once before over a week ago and as soon as he saw me he was like "Julieeeee!" and stopped to talk for a minute or two which was lovely and nice! I love it when you find out people remember you when you don't expect them to. So yeah that was fun :)

Ok enough about my boring day.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Community Arts Training Week 2

Today was the second day of my extension studies class "Community Arts Training" where we work with 12 year old students from a local school to eventually create a celebratory art piece together. I already love this class so much it's not even funny. Ok well maybe it is a little.

We started class pretty early and we began by us university students showing our work to groups of the high school students (not the same as high school in America obviously... I think they are like 8th graders? Maybe younger? I don't know how things work here They say they are grade 8 but I don't think it's the same thing. I'LL NEVER KNOW!). So we each sat at a table and the students came around in little groups of two and three (there are 9 of us--only 7 of us were here today, and only 6 of us stayed the whole time, and 9 or 10 of the young students) and looked at our work and asked us questions and and wrote notes on these little note pads they got.

Ok so back on track, the students are so tiny! Well some of them are bigger and more mature looking but seriously I forgot how tiny grade school kids are! Precious! It was nice to see some of them actually showing genuine interest in art and when they got excited to tell me about similar projects they had done it was really cute! After a short break we regrouped and this time it was our turn to ask the kids questions. We grouped into pairs and went around from group to group of students and talked to them and continued getting to know them which was nice. The first group was these two boys... haha mannn its funny to be around boys that age. Reminds me of kinds i used to know in grade school. As me and my partner asked them questions one of them drew funny pictures of our faces, and continued to ask me a billion random questions about America like "do you like cheeseburgers?" "How many cowboys are there in Chicago" "Is everyone in America fat?" and he kept saying "Howdy, partner". Oh, and they kept asking me to speak with a British accent. Which we all know I love to do buttttttttttt not then, haha. It was pretty funny!

Oh we also looked at the exhibit in the gallery at school together. I spent most of the time doing that with one of my friends and one of the students and it was really fun to ask him what he thought of the work and hear a completely honest kid answer. One piece he totally hated and said "My 4 year older brother could do that!" hah! And then he rated a bunch of work on a scale of 0-10 and it was just really interesting to see what someone who hasn't been all jaded by pretentious art talk 24/7 has to say about it.

After that we had lunch and then headed over to the Brighton Museum which I visited briefly a few weeks ago. It was really great because we got to go to this special room and sit there and learn about African masks that are up to a century old! And we got to touch them and put them on our heads and stuff, hahah it was great! I love tribal masks (Kate, if you are reading this, I kept thinking of you and our trips to the MIA to look as African masks all day!). Then we got to draw the masks and man some of those kids are better drawers than me. It figures. After that we explored the museum a little more and one of my friends told me about a friend of his who is obsessed with taxidermy and stuff and owns tons of old surgical equipment and uses old scalpels and stuff to butter his toast. Hah! By then it was like 3:00 and we were done. It was such a nice day getting to know my classmates and teacher and the new little kids we are going to be working with! YAY.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

London Day Trip January 25, 2009


What an eventful day Jenny, Ally and I had today! I woke up at 7:15 ish and got to the train station by 9, when we discovered that the direct train to London from Brighton was being worked on so we would have to take a bus to the Three Bridges station that would essentially add about an hour and a half to our trip. Oh and it was all rainyyyyyy and dark which kinda made the day start off on a shaky feeling because of the train and the rain and whatnot. So we eventually make it to London only to discover that the line we need to take on the tube is also down!!!! So we were kind of hoping this wasn't some sort of horrible omen, hah. Luckily it wasn't! :D

Anyway, so we started our day at the V&A museum which is ENORMOUS and amazing and we barely got to spend any time there for how big it is, so I can not wait to go back and spend the entire day there sometime soon. While there though, I did get to see some of my absolute favorite things ever like creepy doughy-faced, rosy-cheeked gold leafed religious babies in paintings, lush Islamic pattern and art, and Eastern European "peasant" textiles. LOVE IT!

After getting a nice taste of a lot of what the V&A had to offer, we went to meet Ally's wonderful brother Nathan at this absolutely scrumptious dim sum restaurant called Ping Pong. Let me tell you I was never really sure about dim sum or what it was really or if it would be good but it was GREAT! We ordered so much food and all of it was just mouthwatering! And I had blackberry lemonade, how much better does it get? Not much. But it was nice to get off our feet and talk and get to know Ally's brother who's got a really interesting life!

After the dim sum we were going to walk to the ginormous Topshop but as we were walking we went passed the store Liberty's where Ally's brother works and so we said we needed to go in and he needed to give us a quick tour. So we did and he did! IT IS ABSOLUTELY AMAZING! Apparently it is the building that is the biggest fire hazard in London because it's made out of all wood. Anddddd, that wood came from two old battle ships or something, one of which was called the Liberty. Not only is it gorgeous from the outside but it's honestly like nothing I've ever seen before on the inside. It almost felt museum-esque because it feels really open and old and beautiful and things are displayed so nicely and in little cabinets and it is just incredible! Not to mention the clothes are just amazing, full of big designer stuff, I was drooooooling over all the See by Chloe stuff, it was great!

So then we finally made it to the huge 3 story Topshop and spent some more time drooling over great but expensive clothes. Way cheaper than Liberty's but still once you convert the pound to the dollar everything I wanted was just a little too pricey. I will definitely have to go back and just spend a whole day doing some serious shopping, it will be great!!!!

After Topshop Nathan was nice enough to give the three of us a ride over to the Tate Modern as we were running low on time. The Tate was huge, and honestly felt a little cold and kind of... intimidating at least on the first floor. It wasn't what I was expecting! But it was really lovely and huge and full of nice art! I saw some interesting things but it is another place I just got a taste of and I will have to come back to really see everything!

Next we went to go meet Ally's friend Corine in Camden for dinner before Ally's friend Tim's band was going to play in a pub in Camden. So we took the tube (after taking a slight detour to see the Globe theater and I saw the same pizza express restaurant I ate at with my family 3 years ago, AWWWW! hahah) and arrived in Camden and met Ally's friend who is super nice and fun just like everyone else here so far! We decided to go eat at Wagamamas which is so so tasty! I was really proud of myself because I was able to finish the entire huge plate of food whereas last time I ate there I could barely make a dent! God I love food. Anyway after Wagamama's we said goodbye to Corine and went across the street to Ally's favorite cocktail bar place to meet her friend before his gig. And of course while there I got oddly stared at and then subsequently hit on I guess in such a weird and creepy and uncomfortable way by another drunk creeper to add to the list of many. Anyway so we talked there for a while and then headed over to the pub where the gig was at and spent a little while longer there before realizing that we were all exhausted and if we wanted to make it back to Brighton tonight we'd have to leave at 9:30 ish so we stayed for a while and then headed out. We finally made it back to Brighton at about 11:45 and it was just such a fun day in London, I LOVE THAT CITY, seriously something about it just feels so good to me and I can't wait to be back!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Flatmates and Fun!

Well today didn't turn out as planned but that is a very good thing because I had a great day!

I had planned on being all studious and getting the TON of work I have to do so that I could fully enjoy my time in London tomorrow and just generally get stuff done and feel good. Instead I woke up late.

After waking up nice and late I wasted some time and then went grocery shopping and when I came back to the apartment to put my stuff away in the kitchen and my flatmate's boyfriend Neil was in there, and he is so super nice and friendly so I was talking to him for quite a while and then one of my actual faltmates Dom came in and joined us and then a while later my flatmate Mel who is the guy's girlfriend came in and we were having a nice good old time talking and then we decided to go out for a fun night of dinner and a movie and the pub!

So later that night the four of us and Jenny went out to this nice Italian restaurant that I think was called Donatello's or something. I had the most delicious pizza margherita! And they are always so cheap here, yummmm! Oh and Neil was kind enough to pay for a drink for each of us which was really sweet! Seriously everyone in England is SO NICE! We had a great time talking about horror movies and all kinds of stuff. It was really nice to go out with my flatmates because although I've talked to them a few times and stuff I haven't really had the opportunity to actually hag out with them! Yay they are so nice :)

After that we ventured off to the movie theater! And after a lot of confusion and indecisiveness we settled on seeing Underworld 3: Legion of Lycons or some title like that, haha. But we had an hour to kill so we went to a pub and sat around and thought we saw famous people but we didn't really. So in an hour we went to the movie, and let's just day I will never look at that guy from Love Actually the same way again. But hey, it was entertaining and I had a great time.

On the walk home we saw lots of drunk girls getting arrested, a Cristiano Ronaldo look-a-like, paramedics, crazy looking club goers with their butts hanging out, and all kinds of wacky stuff. OH, Brighton!


Thursday, January 22, 2009

Europa and Pub Quiz

Today for our Professional and Personal development class we had two of the very nice and talented people from Europa come to lecture. Their work was really great and I loved their lecture. But the best part came after! For their "workshop" they decided to do a "Pub Quiz", so they invited anyone who wanted to to join them at a pub at 2:00 where we would take part in this crazy pub quiz thing!

We went to the King and Queen pub (which I love and think is so cozy) as it is right across from school and it's huge! So there were about 18 or so of us there and we split into groups of 4-ish and began the quiz. We were handed a sheet of paper with 20 lines on it, a sheet with 12 logos, and a few blank sheets. The two guys from Europa then read questions for us all to answer, and they were all graphic design based, hahahaa. Nerd time! Ooooh, the best part was that the winning team would get these great posters they made as well as the possibility of a work placement. So there was a HUGE incentive to win!

Anyway, the questions were TOUGH! We had to identify all the logos (my team got 9 our of the 12 i think? Maybe more?) And then we had to do things like draw a perfect circle, draw the most recent penguin book logo, draw the batman symbol, identify arial versus helvetica, put 5 typefaces in order from oldest to most recently created, name who designed the london underground map system, and all kinds of tough stuff! It was a good challenge and my team came in 3rd out of 5 with 24.5 points, although the winners were only ahead by one single point! SO CLOSE YET SO FAR AWAY! Anyway, it was another great day in Brighton!

Lewes Day Trip 01-21-09

Yesterday Jenny and I decided to take a day trip to Lewes, a cute little town in East Sussex about 20 minutes by bus from Brighton. It was GREAT!

We took the bus and as soon as we arrived we were on the "High Street" which I think is what they call all main streets/fancy shopping streets here. And as soon as we got out first of all you see the beautiful hilly green grass in the distance which is just beaaaaaaaaautiful! Once we started walking an incredible window display of gorgeous old books caught my eyes and we decided to go into this small 3 room bookstore called the Bow Window Book Shop. We ended up spending almost 2 hours in the tiny little shop, it was FILLED WITH TREASURES! There was a book about noses, all about noses, all about 'em! And a book about abdominal pains. And books abuot chess, and wild english birds, fighter pilots, and everything you could imagine. But they were all old and beautiful which makes them all automatically better. I ended up getting a small book about astronomy filled with beautiful images and star charts as well as an amazing vintage tourist's map of England and Wales from somewhere between 1889-1911. When I was checking out the lady was so sweet, she said that she loved seeing young people and to encourage us to keep up our interest in the books she took two pounds off my total bill! So sweet of her!

Once we left the book shop we started walking around towards the castle. Sadly the castle itself was closed becuase it is being rennovated, but it was still nice to see from the outside. As we walked around there we saw these people on this lawn playing some weird game and there was an older man also watching them so we asked him what they were doing. He started explaining that they were playing lawn bowling and then he started talking to us and telling us all about the history of Lewes and what we needed to see while we were here. He was sooo sweet and then his son joined us and we started walking around a little with them as they told us all about these crazy stories and things in Lewes. Then he called the lawn bowlers over and was like "These girls here are from America, tell them abuot this game!" ahaha so they came over and were super nice to us as well and explained lawn bowling to us. Then after talking a bit more to the nice old man and his son, they took our picture for us and then we went our seperate ways.

So Jenny and I continued walking around exploring and then we found ourselves kind of standing near this building wonderig if we should go in and who should appear in the doorway but the cute old man! So we waved to him and he gave us a thumbs up and motioned for us to come in, so we did. Inside we met his adorableeeeeeeeeeee cute old wife also named Jenny, and they invited us to have tea and coffee with them and their son! So we all had tea together and talked about America and politics and Brighton and Lewes and had a great time! It was so lovely! And they paid for our tea and hot cocoa which was really really nice of them. I love English people!

After that Jenny and I walked around some more, found the river, walked into a few interesting looking stores, and just wandered around exploring. As it got darker we decided to go have some dinner and we ate at the cutest little produce store and restaurant. And of course everyone there was just as nice as ever and one of the guys who worked there struck up a nice conversation with us and we learned that he is a student of economics at Oxford, and when we told him we were graphic designers he wanted to get our contact info because he is "a bit of an entrepreneur" himself, hahaha oh networking! He was nice!

Then we took the bus back to Brighton and walked straight to the nice old movie theater to go see The Wrestler with film club which was a good but depressing and mildly embarrassing movie. And after that we went to the Bath Arm's pub with Ally and her friends and had a great night! FUN TIMES IN ENGLAND!