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.

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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!

Burberry Makers House

This week only, Burberry is holding an exhibit which showcases their February 2017 collection that was shown at London Fashion Week on Monday. The exhibit is named “Henry Moore: Inspiration & Process at Makers House”, brought together in collaboration with the Henry Moore Foundation. The exhibit walks through the artwork, created by Henry Moore himself, and how it inspired this season’s collection.

Burberry cape

In addition to Moore’s artwork and Burberry’s latest collection, Burberry has also displayed their made-to-order couture cape collection. These capes are some of the most beautiful, detailed pieces I have ever had the pleasure of viewing. Each one is created from the most exquisite materials such as shells, feathers, plastic, rope, and beads.

Burberry February 2017

This grey cable knit sweater dress is a favorite of mine from the collection. I can just imagine myself wearing this with some knee-high black boots and a grey trench coat. A girl can dream, right!?

Burberry Makers House 2017

Burberry Makers House production

Being a sewer, I loved experiencing the making of a huge fashion house’s runway collection. The exhibit laid out the fitting and tailoring process of each special piece in the collection. They even had a jacket displayed that still had the pins in it. Many people who aren’t familiar with designing clothes don’t understand all of the math and careful planning involved with each garment. This exhibit gives a deep insight into the process of designing and creating clothing.

Burberry cape

Henry Moore Burberry

This is one of Moore’s bronze sculptures which was the largest source of inspiration for the collection. Each sculpture is meant to represent a sense of security, which can be noticed throughout the clothes in the collection. You can also see how the geometric elements of this sculpture translate directly into the geometric elements of the clothes. This is seen most literally in the shoes paired with each look which have a cut-out round heel.

Burberry Henry Moore

Burberry February 2017

Here is a more literal interpretation of one of Moore’s art pieces. You can see that Christopher Bailey was inspired by the fluidity and design of the light piece when designing this knit sweater.

Burberry cape

We looked at the contradictions in  Moore’s work, between power and gentleness, heaviness and lightness, familiarity and abstraction. Between the hardness of his materials and the fluidity and softness of his forms -(Christopher Bailey)

Burberry February 2017

If you are in London this week then I highly suggest you make a stop at the Makers House. Not only is it a once-in-a-lifetime experience for the fashion phanatics, but it’s free! When you’re traveling on a budget there is no better word to hear. You have until February 27th to check it out, so go now! I am definitely making a few more visits before the exhibit closes. If you go be sure to let me know what you thought!

Vail, Colorado

As I welcomed in 2017, I knew I was inviting a bunch of new places, new people, and new cultural experiences into my life. My first trip of 2017 was to Vail, Colorado, a much different place than where the rest of my travels will be leading me. I headed off to Colorado mostly to spend time with family, but, of course, couldn’t neglect the fresh ten inches of snow on the ground.

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I started off my trip by taking a relaxing yoga class at the Vail Vitality Center. There is something so soothing about taking a yoga class on vacation.

The next day we decided to go on a snowshoeing nature tour atop the mountain. Although it was during a huge blizzard, I was able to take in the natural beauty of the mountain while also learning a lot about Colorado’s wild life. Did you know that mice are resisters and do not hibernate or migrate during the winter? They actually bury themselves into the layer of snow closest to the ground, building tunnels deep throughout the snow. However, although this sounds like an intelligent way to escape preditors, foxes have the ability to use Earth’s magnetic field to hunt them down for dinner.

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After the snowshoeing adventure, we went on an art walk of Vail Village, a free tour that the town holds every Wednesday at 3:30pm. The guide pointed out independent art works that you definitely wouldn’t pick up at first glance. There are intricate tiles that makes up the paths of the village that represent different rhymes and riddles of the various ski slopes.

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One of my favorite sculptures in the village is the one pictured above. This structure is called “The Water Tree”, constructed by artist Lawrence Argent. It lights up the town in various shades of blue, purple, yellow, and green at night. Jen Lewin Studio installed 52 LED forms in order to make this light show come to life.

When traveling to a ski town like Vail, don’t forget to take in everything the city has to offer. Ski by day and explore the culture by night! You will be surprised by how many hidden gems you can find and all of the new things you can learn.

Keep up with more of my travels by following me on here, InstagramTwitter, and Facebook.

The Enslaved Africans’ Rain Garden

Picture yourself on a crisp spring day, walking by the Hudson River in Yonkers, New York. You hear the sound of flowing water and birds chirping. Luscious green trees and bushes line the path that you are walking. You are surrounded by towering bronze sculptures, each with their own unique personality. These elements of nature and art come together to tell the story of the city’s past.

Vinnie Bagwell Enslaved Africans Rain Garden

This is exactly the experience that Vinnie Bagwell is creating through her “The Enslaved Africans’ Rain Garden” initiative. What exactly is a rain garden?  A rain garden is a planted depression that allows the surrounding greenery to be watered using rainwater run-off. Having this in place in the city of Yonkers will save water sources and reduce pollution in the area.

Not only is she helping the natural beauty of Yonkers prosper, but she is sharing its rich history through the personalities of her sculptures. Bagwell will be focusing on the enslaved Africans who once lived at the Philipse Manor Hall, a popular slave-owning household in Yonkers during the 1680s and 1690s. Six of the slaves that lived here were the first to be freed from slavery, exactly 76 years before the Emancipation Proclamation.

Vinnie Bagel Enslaved Africans Rain Garden

Bagwell aims to create a life-size sculpture like this one to be the main focal point of the garden. She says, “The strongest aspect of the Enslaved Africans’ Rain Garden Project is that its underlying values and goals begin to address the righting of this wrong by giving voice to the previously unheard via accessible public art…”. Bagwell wants everyone to experience the emotions that these slaves felt by looking at the expressions on her sculptures’ faces. Yonkers must finally hear what the people of its past have to say.

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When asked why she feels so powerfully about this project she says, “Despite the hardship and injustices of slavery, the enslaved people of African descent made important contributions to our cultural and intellectual life, and their experience is among the richest of legacies. Yet, there is no permanent, public, interpretive recognition of them”. Bagwell is trying to do exactly this. She wants to open Yonkers and the rest of New York up to the deep history that it holds but has forgotten. She is expressing this message in the most beautiful and powerful way she knows; through sculpture.

Be sure to follow this project by liking the project’s Facebook page, following Bagwell on Instagram, and watching this short Youtube video.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Lewis
Site-Plan Illustrations: Brown Craig Turner Architectural Design

Sculpture Garden in the Heart of NYC

Yes, you read that right. This beautiful sculpture garden is in the middle of downtown Manhattan, hidden away between two quiet streets. If you’ve happened to stumble upon this garden while walking down Elizabeth Street, consider yourself very lucky. It is not everyday that you find a gem like this one in such a busy, evolving city.

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The Elizabeth Street Garden is the perfect place to escape the hustle of the city streets and curl up in a good book. The garden is full of hidden pathways leading to benches and tiny tables with chairs. The giant sculptures and blooming flowers create an atmosphere buzzing with creativity and inspiration. This space is so important in a neighborhood like this one where there is only three feet of open space per resident. Us New Yorkers don’t get the luxury of open space to call our own which is why this garden means so much to so many of us.

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Around since 1903, this garden represents a time in history. It was originally built in partnership with a school, by architect C.B.J. Snyder, and served as a civic and social center for the surrounding residents. In the 1970s the school was torn down but the garden remained.

Sadly, potential developers are looking into destroying this one-of-a-kind space in the city, turning the garden into just another apartment complex. Whether you are a native New Yorker or someone across the world who someday hopes to visit this garden, please take the time to send this electronic letter to those who have the ability to protect the Elizabeth Street Garden.

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It pains me to know that a place full of history, wonder, and a unique perspective of art could be destroyed for more city housing. Everyone deserves to seek the same creative inspiration that I have, from this space. The sculptures, flowers, and even people this space attracts have influenced the way I dress and the lens I view the world by.

The garden has reminded me to dress with a sense of ease that is pleasing to the eye and unique to myself. It has also showed me how to mix classic pieces with more modern ones, like these crepe pants and dark leather jacket. Just like the garden is a reminder of the simple beauty in an ever-changing city, my wardrobe remains classic and refreshing while I continue to grow and change.

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My favorite piece in the garden? The greyhound sculptures, of course. I have been a sucker for greyhounds ever since my family rescued my sweet, three-year-old baby girl, Luna, this past May. Coming to this garden reminds me of her when I am missing her most. And, with the greyhound winning the National Dog Show this November, the statues might just be a lucky charm for the future of the Elizabeth Street Garden.

 

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.