Amsterdam’s Art Scene

When I think of Amsterdam I just think of a cool city with cool people. And naturally, when a city and its people are cool, there is a pretty mind-blowing art scene. Not only are there some amazing, well-known museums, like the Van Gogh Museum, but there are galleries and exhibits that are rarely mentioned in the plethora of guides to Amsterdam that you see on Pinterest.

Amsterdam art galleries

One of my favorite places that we stumbled into was the Home of Art art gallery. I loved this lantern-like exhibit that was displayed in the front of the space. The way the sun shone through the windows was beautiful.

Amsterdam small hidden art galleries

I think I loved this gallery so much because of the people that ran it. They were welcoming, offering us up some wine and snacks, and left us alone to enjoy the art. If you are a frequent gallery-goer than you know that those running it make or break your experience. A lot of people can be stingy, watching your every move, judging you, or simply ignore your presence all together.

Amsterdam Van Gogh museum

Of course we visited the Van Gogh Museum, which was an amazing experience. I learned so much about the artist that I never knew. I loved seeing how his work evolved throughout the different time periods in his life and changed depending on where he moved. The museum does a brilliant job at intertwining Van Gogh’s history with his paintings, explaining his story perfectly through his art.

Amsterdam Moco Museum

Lastly, right next to the Van Gogh Museum, is the Moco Museum, a pleasant surprise for someone who loves street art or impressionism. I had never even heard of this museum before walking by it. It houses an extensive collection of Banksy and Dali, walking the viewer through the meaning of their different pieces. While we did not get the chance to go inside, this will definitely be the first museum I visit the next time I’m in Amsterdam. Remember to hit up all of the museums early in the day so you don’t face the same struggle against the 5pm closing times that we did.

Amsterdam Moco Museum

To learn about more of my favorites spots in Amsterdam, check out my Ultimate Guide to Amsterdam- What to See, Eat, Do, and be sure to follow me on Instagram to see all of my European adventures!

Shoreditch Street Style

Shoreditch is the coolest place in London to live; I will take that statement with me to the grave. Being a fashion and art lover, the environment really spurs so much creativity. Every time you walk down the street you notice a new painting or music poster on the exposed brick buildings. There is constantly something that inspires me with a new idea.

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Maybe it’s just me being crazy, but I think I’ve gotten a lot cooler since moving to Shoreditch. The neighborhood openly accepts the most artsy form of yourself, which I love. I can where whatever I want to wear without being looked at twice (unless your outfit is just so cool it requires a few extra glances). Everyone is always expressing themselves and simply living their lives. If you have a new idea or a creative soul, this is the only place to pursue it.

London street style

Staying true to my own style, I love to take business-like pieces and pair them with more eclectic, hip accessories. I took this rather fancy silk blouse and paired it with my new favorite Topshop jeans and Asos rose gold loafers. The cold and rainy weather clearly hasn’t stopped me from sporting my favorite pair of shoes.

London fashion blogger

I have been wearing a lot more blue since being in London, and I can’t help but think if the weather is what is inspiring this new wardrobe change. It really is as gloomy as everyone says it is (although this was shot on a super sunny day, of course)! Luckily, living in Shoreditch, there is always a colorful art mural just around the corner to brighten my day.

London fashion blogger

Fashion and art are two topics which can be interpreted in many different ways. We all see different things as forms of art and different styles as “fashion-forward”. Living in London has reinforced this viewpoint of mine more than ever. There are so many different parts of the city, each with different kinds of people, restaurants, and architectural styles. There truly is a neighborhood that is meant for everyone.

London street style

I am lucky enough to live in the neighborhood that fits me the best. Shoreditch is for the so-called “hipsters”. Kensington is for the posh museum-goers. Camden is for the eclectic, edgy character. Westminster is for the tourists…

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The next time you are looking for a unique source of inspiration, explore a new area- whether it is a small street just a few minutes from you or a completely unknown neighborhood. You never know what you will find and how it will inspire you.

See more Shoreditch street art and style posts by following me on here, InstagramTwitter, and Facebook.

Photos by Colton.

Street Art of Alfama

Art truly is everywhere you look… It just depends what you are looking for. I see art in the the literal sense, through murals and paintings, but also in people and places. Lisbon, as a city, was a work of art in itself.

Aflame street art

Two friends enjoying lunch on a quiet Sunday afternoon. I quickly fell in love with the bicycle, flowers, and painting of the woman with the traditional Portuguese guitar.

Aflame street art

This alley was my favorite discovery I made while wandering the streets of Alfama. It was covered in plants and random colorful collages. There was also a back and white cat sitting on a chair, bathing in the sun. I think he appreciated the artwork just as much as I did!

Aflama street art

The contrast of old and new. Who is to say that one is more beautiful than the other? Although I do wish I knew what the graffiti says.

Aflame street art

A graffitied truck parked in front of an exquisitely built building- the perfect contrast.

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Pure poetry.

Aflame street mosaic

Aflame street graffiti

Most people choose to just look at the view of the city, I choose to look at the graffiti surrounding it as well.

Aflame street art tile mosaic

Hand-painted tiles on the side of a building that highlight the Portuguese lifestyle in Alfama.

aflama art coffee and red wine

My three favorite things- coffee, wine, and paintings!

I am always mentioning this, but, art is what you make of it. Start opening your eyes to view everything you see as its own work of art. You never know what you will learn to appreciate in the process.

Follow me on Instagram for more photos of street art seen around Europe.

 

The Beauty in the Broken

I was running along the Hudson River during my favorite part of the day, sunset, when I ran past this sculpture. I removed my ear buds which where blasting soft electronic music, stopping to admire the sculpture. As humans, art has the power to move us. It moves us in ways we may not even be able to explain. I often find myself compelled by a certain piece of art that I would have never looked at twice if presented to me in a different way.

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While I already experience an Adrenaline rush during my nightly runs, seeing an art piece as powerful as this one only heightens that high. It is art like this that really makes me think about life, which is exactly what the artist intended when she created this sculpture. The emotion on these faces is so raw and genuine that you cannot help but stop in your tracks and feel a connection while looking at it.

Tanda Francis sculpted this structure from concrete and steel, ending with a towering 10-foot-tall masterpiece called Everyone Breaks. She was inspired by the fact that life always forces us down at points in time. Every person experiences situations which bring them to tears or anger they cannot control. However, we always have the power inside us to push past these struggles in order to find happiness once again. The cracks in this sculpture simply show that something which was once broken is even more beautiful after being pieced back together again.

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When I stopped in front of this sculpture I was not sure exactly what attracted me to the art piece, which often happens. Sometimes you later find answers to why this state of awe occurred and sometimes you do not. After learning the meaning behind Francis’s sculpture it made sense to me why I was originally so attracted to it. I, just like every other human on this Earth, have had points in time where I have been so upset, heartbroken, or angry over situations beyond my control. It is from these situations, however, that I have grown into who I am today. I have learned to always value my self-worth over anyone else’s. I have learned to appreciate my loved ones while they are with me. I have learned to always trust my first intuition about someone.

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Without these lessons I would not be the confident, beautiful, hard-working young woman I am today. I would not treat people important to me with the level of affection and respect that they deserve. I definitely would not express myself through fashion in the same way I do now. I can promise you that you would not be the unique, wonderful person you are today without your life experiences, for your hardships have only made you more beautiful.

My look is not only inspired by the beauty of the sculpture but by the beauty of life itself. I choose to wear my favorite bodysuit to show off one of my favorite features- my back. Never be afraid to show off what you feel is the most beautiful part about yourself, whether it is your legs or a scar, for every feature makes you who you are.

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I think of myself as a fun, carefree person so I like to express that in my style. While I do love black, I am never afraid to add some fun accessories like these sunglasses and red crossbody bag. Of course, I added a contrasting puff to the bag to express even more of my personality.

Edited Close Up

As Tupac Shakur once recited in The Rose That Grew From Concrete, “Did you hear about the rose that grew through the crack in the concrete? Proving nature’s law wrong, it learned to walk without having feet. Funny, it seems to be keeping it’s dreams; it learned to breathe fresh air. Long live that rose that grew from concrete when no one else even cared.” In other words, the most beautiful and pure version of yourself develops due to life’s obstacles and heartbreaks.

Art Unlocks Emotion

Art is all around us. Art inspires. It brightens. It expresses emotions that otherwise cannot be conveyed. Art is simply a beautiful thing.

Many people think art is only found in a museum or a gallery, but this is not the case. Art can be found anywhere and everywhere. Art does not have to be a pretty picture hanging on a crisp white wall. It can be a quote graffitied onto the dirty New York City sidewalk. Or a fashion advertisement plastered on a construction site.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. If you learn to recognize that everything is special and creative in its own way, you will see that you are always surrounded by art. Art is supposed to make you feel something whether it is happiness, sadness, or anger. It is meant to move you and make a difference.

The next time you are exploring somewhere new, really take in your surroundings and appreciate them for what they are. If you learn to do this you can unlock a whole new level of emotions that you have never felt before. You are acknowledging the world as a piece of art in itself.