Tell us a little bit about yourself—your background, major program of study, reasons for taking this trip, and anything else interesting you want to share (maybe something people might not know about you).
I'm Jessica Chauhan and I'm a 3rd year student at KPU studying Fashion Design & Technology. Fashion design has been a life long interest of mine since I was a child and I wanted to take part in the field school opportunity to experience the art scene. I have previously been to New York City (May 2014) for a trip with the Fashion program, and I got to do and see a lot of things in relation to fashion. I wanted to experience a different aspect of New York City through art and also go to Europe, which I have never done before.
What has met or exceeded your expectations or surprised you about New York so far?
Five days into the trip and I've been doing a lot of things around the city that I didn't get to do the first time I was here. Going to the New Whitney Museum, walking the Highline, going to an amazing donut place were just a few highlights! Staying in Brooklyn is definitely interesting and though I would have much rather stayed in Manhattan, staying in Brooklyn is an amazing opportunity to see and learn about a part of New York that has so much history surrounding art (& fashion).
I've been exposed to a new way of thinking about design through art work and architecture, and looking at spaces and colors differently, and trying to get inspired by the rush of New York City. I've always been a city girl and it's so crazy how parts of New York vary from one to the next. One second I can be walking down a brick road in Greenwich Village then I'll be walking down the busiest blocks in Times Square.
Give us some insight into your assigned artwork from the Museum of Modern Art. Who is the artist? When was this work made? What is the content of this work? In what context and as part of what art movement was it made?
The art piece I was assigned from the Museum of Modern Art was Takashi Murakami's 1996 piece titled 727. It was made up of three of the same sized canvas and was painted with a polymer paint medium. This piece was made in the Neo-pop art era. This was after Andy Warhol and people actually consider Murakami as the Japanese Andy Warhol because of the way he interprets pop culture into his art work.
In preparation for the MoMA I tried to imagine my piece bigger then what I assumed it to be. I didn't expect there to be non neo-pop art pieces around it. The room just seemed like a modge-podge of large art piece. I also expected there to be some sort of super-flat pieces somewhere in the space of the 727, but there was not. I guess in a way, I was disappointing with the set up of the room my piece was in, but I was not disappointing by my assigned art piece.
How did you approach the creative task of responding to this assigned work in studio? What were your challenges as an artist to be in dialogue with the artwork and artist? Would you do anything differently now that you have seen the work in person?
When I began my process of responding and having a conversation with this art piece I had to just get started. I began drawing things and looking around me and what I personally related to to and began the molding of my art piece. I was struggling to come up with a concept for my piece because this is the first non-fashion-art work that I've made in years. It was overwhelming learning about how the art world works, how my artist in the era of neo-pop art works, and how having a conversation back with my artist works. An idea occurred after I began thinking about how my life, my childhood ad upbringing related to the piece of work. Murakami was trying to show how messed up American culture looked to Japanese youth, hence the morphed Mickey Mouse character in the middle of his painting.
There are a few things about the art that I produced that I would do differently after seeing it in person. I would have thought about making claws on the hands of Mickey Mouse, I would also consider making the piece bigger, and making a change to the background of the painting, maybe making look more like outer space.
After seeing your assigned art work in person (and any other related art from the same artist or art movement associated with the assigned work), what struck you most, and/or how did the artwork’s form, content, and context shift for you when seeing it?
When I saw the art work in person it wasn't the size that surprised me, it was the color! The skin of the character was very pinky-peach and the whole piece had much of a pinker tone then what I saw from images online. I also kind of expected there to be more Murakami pieces around but there wasn't. The room was just a mix of different large contemporary pieces from various artists.
Today’s activity was at the New Whitney Museum of American Art in the Chelsea neighbourhood. What were your impressions of this part of New York after learning about it first in the pre-departure classes? What will you take away of the experiences of this day? What are the most memorable moments for you?
Seeing the New Whitney Museum was incredible! After reading the reviews online and seeing photos of the building and artworks inside it was a surreal feeling to explore the building and engage in a very minimalist space. The building was gorgeous, exterior and interior, the high white walls and large art pieces made it easy and comfortable for me to read the art. After the wonderful trip to the New Whitney, I was ready to get some grub. Michelle, Olivia, and I (also known by the larger group as the "Fashion Girls") hit the Chelsea Market, roamed underground then had an amazing meal at a restaurant called FRIEDMAN'S LUNCH, and to says it was delicious is an understatement. After being fueled the three of us went thrift shopping at a few places, one of which was Beacon's Closet. Lets just say that fashion students and designer thrift items go together quite well. It was nice walking around Chelsea and looking at the beautiful architecture. While walking to the metro station after station I had a very New York moment, I got asked for directions! I literally felt like I belonged in Manhattan. It was probably the best random moment of the trip so far.
We rushed back to the Hostel after shopping to change into our new clothes (of course) then met up with our teacher Dorothy and several of our classmates to walk the Highline and watch the sun set. The whole park is amazing, the view, seating and art that was up there was stunning. Though the walk was long Dorothy insisted that we grab a donut at a shop beside the Chelsea Hotel. Let's just say that Tim Horton's has nothing on the mind blowing coffee cake donut that I ate. I am lucky enough to have met so many amazing people and I am so excited to continue the rest of this journey with them.