There were special moments in each place I have traveled. Amsterdam was probably my most enjoyable trip. I was there creating art in an Artist-in-Residence program (view some artworks here). What made this experience so special was a combination of being exposed to new forms of art through fellow artists, being in a new environment and experimenting with new media. Every day in Amsterdam’s Wackers Academie studio was an adventure and about breaking boundaries.
My Journal in Amsterdam
As part of the program, we were asked to keep a journal documenting our daily experiences, ideas and rough sketches. Actually, I found it as a very creative exercise for me to find as many ways to express myself on small pages of white paper. Here are excerpts from my journal that described the experience best:
The sounds I hear right now as I’m writing here in the studio are the shuffling of shoes, crumpling of paper, paper cutting, the camera flash going off and shutter releases, and the distant sound of a motorcycle racing by.
I’m fascinated by the things I am able to create and bewildered by what else I will be creating.
I think we often create things because they are extensions of ourselves. The more we create, the more we learn about our potential and the greater insight we have into our experiences. Creating things is a sign of independent growth. My own art pieces teach me something about myself. It’s an ongoing dialogue I have with my art throughout my life. As my perspectives evolve over time through new experiences, so does my lifestyle.
Visiting Anne Frank’s House. Anne’s Diary
Our art program also provided us with access to museums and time to explore the city. I got the chance to finally visit Anne Frank’s house after reading her diary. It was a moving experience. A great reminder of a beautiful soul and free spirit. For her to be confined and isolated from the World must have been devastating. I wished I had the chance to meet Anne. For a free spirit like her at such a young age, her diary was her source of freedom. Anne’s growth and maturity was observed through her increasingly profound ideas, discipline, insight and questions. She used her time to think, ponder over life, self reflect, all of which gave her the ability to reach to her state of mind with clarity. She had the gift to express herself vividly in writing.
A Conversation with a Fellow Artist at the Art-In-Amsterdam (AIA) Program
View More Artworks from AIA program
A few snapshots from the studio and of the art in progress by fellow artists
A Poem I wrote in my Journal while on a train ride in Amsterdam
they gracefully glide
on the windowpane
and carefully plan
They just go —
slowly, then quickly
slowly, then quickly.
The raindrops walk
They walk in
I watch them
and sink into
–Jenny S.W. Lee (2009)