Saturday, August 30, 2008

Everything's different... this place. Considering I've travelled a fair bit I find New York a bit of a slap in the face. First, my phone stopped working. Not good. Took me 3 days to sort out. Then my bank card stopped working. Being an HSBC customer, therefore a customer of 'the world's local bank', I thought not to worry. Think again. Asking for assistance in one of their branches I was rejected with the argument no one could bring up my details as I am not their customer here. Great, thanks. Then I got locked in a train. Cause no one tells you in advance that only the first 6 carriages will open at your stop. Only a whole 6 seconds before the train rolls into the station some undecipherable voice barks through the speakers some carriage numbers which won't open. Smart passengers will then attempt a freak attack at the doors between the carriages only to find out they wont open either. That's that.
In the supermarket you have to watch out not to get drained by little hidden sprayers which shower the fresh vegetables. Where I come from we'd probably fear they'd be rotten even sooner, but not so here. If you really want your radishes, you'll end up with wet, muddy hands.
Next up, milk mostly comes in gallons or something. Gallons is what they measure crude oil in, in this county. That means it will go OFF before you can have half of it. Unless you have a huge milk-addicted family at home, that is.

Oh well, but other than that, everything is fine, of course...

Tag that Toilet

No chance of checking your make-up in that mirror in some SoHo bar.

Of the 12 exchange students in Cooper there are 3 Canadians and they are all good fun. Today was our first night out in Soho with cheap 'Papst' beer (which means pope beer in German and therefore kind of misses the point) and pool games. And graffiti toilets.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Good to know

Today was my first day at Cooper Union. Contrary to the poster above, everyone is really friendly. Confusingly so, coming from Saint Martins. Not that people aren't friendly there, it's just that, here, people remember who you are and take a real interest in you. Anyways, classes start next week and so far everything sounds very exciting. Each student has their own PHYSICAL post box. Like a real thing in a real room. For all the letters from the galleries and artists who want us to come to their show. Crazy.

Today was also the first time I actually fully soaked in the fact that I am in New York now. Staying with friends in Long Island for the first few days, that fact kind of escaped me. Today I had my first bagel in Manhattan, sitting outside of the cafe watching all the swooshy people rush past. Love it!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Art in my hallway

I have found a place to live! I now 'take up residence' in a Brooklyn artist's loft. What sounds very nice and fancy is in fact a former chicken plucking factory, opposite a plastic factory. Yes, it is noisy. Also, there's a chicken meat factory around the corner and you don't want to walk past it if you ever want to enjoy chicken meat again...

Wanna live with me?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Friday, August 15, 2008


Part of my course for a Bachelor degree in Graphic Design requires the writing of an essay so Saint Martins can actually claim to be a proper University, not just a crazy place with a bunch of creative people in it doing fun stuff. I don't mind academic writing, though doing it in my second language is at times proving more difficult than I expected. I just wanted to make sure I write about something I'm passionate about and really do feel interested in so Drawing was the obvious choice. My essay will be about Scribbling and how it made its way into the Art world. I gave a presentation about this at a conference called Interesting which is organised by Russel Davies.
Below are the slides I showed and some of the stuff I talked about.
Using this drawing of David Shrigley seemed like a good way of starting my presentation.

These are some of my own drawings.

Now follows a conversation two people had in the 'letters' section of a Guardian weekend magazine:

And this is the kind of stuff Paul Harrison is probably talking about. Totally incomprehensible but–to me–absolutely brilliant:

Next, I showed a drawing about drawing, trying to explain where I think Scribbles fit into the wider picture.

Now follows my favourite illustrator: Paul Davis. Below is a drawing which he did for a surf magazine by David Carson, who in turn thought it was too pessimistic and didn't publish it.

These are the covers and some spreads of books about what the English think of Americans and vice versa.

Referring to Rick Poynor's article in Eye magazine a few years ago about the genius of Paul Davis I put together some of the characteristics I thought most Scribble Artist's had in common:

Last but not least the Romanian Dan Perjovschi, who stunned art lovers with a huge and fantastic exhibition in the MoMa last year. Below are some of the drawings you can find in a leaflet from the exhibition.

I concluded my presentation with an example of what I think will not help getting more people drawing: A publication from the Guardian about how to doodle. I just think the very sense of Doodling or Scribbling is that it happens spontaneously and not on a provided sheet of paper in a Doodle book.

P.S.: Another artist to mention in relation to Scribble Art is the German Markus Vater
whose work I am personally not 100% fond of. I think it lacks some of the cleverness of someone like David Shrigley, esp. in its typographic commentary on the drawings, and, to me, often risks being a touch banal.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Room Doom

How to find a room in New York.

Step 1: Craigslist
Spend three days solidly on Craigslist, that is 24 hours to make best use of the time difference. Look at every ad that might just be somehow interesting in the slightest.

Step 2: Email
Write at least 100 emails with lots of positive words and exclamation marks in the subject line. Don't really lie about yourself but make sure you note down all the most positive aspects of your personality.

Next steps to follow in future posts. Meanwhile, lets have a look at possible new house mates.

Shall we use the help of this gentleman: 'I take pride in the number of people I have placed sight-unseen'. NUH UH. 'Sight-unseen' is not for the faint hearted. With an average deposit of 1.5 months rent and the rent being a minimum of around $800 (unless you want to live in a 'room' in the hallway) you'd be almost $2000 lighter while still halfway around the world.

Maybe this one: 'My level of cleanliness is best described as clean.'. Aha. And she'd 'prefer a guy but a really laid-back, unselfish female would be great too.' Oh dear not me then. Too female and selfish, for sure.

The next ad is devided into the categories 'The room, the apartment, the hood'. Sounds like an authentic New York experience. 'The hood'. Yeah. Uh huh check it out now.

Maybe him: 'Vegetarian but not preachy about it. Looking for someone who pays the bills on time, likes my dog, and is clean but not a clean freak.' Not preachy about vegetarian means if sausage has been cooked in a pan you can roast your meat-free soya burgers in it without having to deep-clean and sterilise it? Yeah I can live with that.

Then this: '420 friendly but Please, No Cigarettes!'. Dear me cigarettes. Bah. Never. Too Stinky. Dope's fine though (that's what '420 friendly' means, according to Google). Alright. NEXT.

'I really just want to meet someone who would be cool to live with.' Sounds heart-rending. This 'woman of leisure' offers me a great deal: 'this apartment is real intimate, railroad style. So whoever moves in will have a lack of privacy since I will have to walk through your room to use the kitchen and bathroom. This is not a problem when both people are in the same mental space.' Aha. EXCUSE ME? We are still talking about $800 a month. And you want to walk through my room?

Well maybe this sounds promising: '$900 I NEED A ROOMIE OR A ROOM'. Ahh. We then see 3 (!) images of the gentleman himself, who's 'not the average 20 year old' and who's 'leaving the city of brotherly love.' Sniff.

How about this: '$995 Room in SOHO loft.' "NOT POSSIBLE!!!", my friend goes, clicking on the link to the ad anyway. And here's the deal: 'There is no kitchen or bathroom in the room.' Great. Just what I need for almost a 1000 dollars a month. A flat with one room and nothing else. People in New York must be MENTAL!

Let's see this: 'The space is awesome, there are three other bedrooms occupied by nice women who aren't home that much.' Uh. Ok. It's not like I'm actually keen to move in with 3 other people to then never see them. But the good news is 'they are nice people and won't steal your stuff'. Well that's a relief.

And here's my final and favourite: '$930. luckily for you, this place is a sick, sick deal.' Sounds kinda bad in a good way. But then: 'the catch is that the bedrooms have no Windows. but this is a small price to pay for the low rent. luckily there is plenty of light and air upstairs.' No windows and now air downstairs but upstairs. Well that's a clear proposition. Sleep as little as possible and you'll survive.

Good luck!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Cinnamon's been asleep...

...but it's time to wake up now. It's been a month since my last post and I will try jump back on the train of blogging. One of the reasons for my non-blogging is my shocking lack of creative occupation since the end of term. And I simply didn't feel the urge to write about my recent obsession with Nintendo Wii Mario Cart. (Though there are some interesting things to say about that.) But there have been some developments and I will therefore announce that Cinnamon is going to change. I am off to New York in two weeks and will be there until the end of December for an exchange with Cooper Union. CU is a crazy art school in the East Village in lower Manhattan with lots of people with asymmetric haircuts. I think exciting times are lying ahead and I will try and document some of it on Cinnamon. This will mean a change from my mainly visual blog outset to a more diary like affair. Now, I don't mean the kind of diary where you write about irregularities in your period. I'll just try and tell about the things I come across every day in that crazy place called Big Apple. Bear with me, writing is not my unique personal strength, but I believe you get better at almost everything you practice and I think these months ahead will be interesting enough to be shared.