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 am a university undergraduate student at Kwantlen Polytechnic University studying Modern Languages. I have mostly taken foreign language classes, but I have not up until now taken Art History classes and have just started in the past year taking Fine Art courses. I also recently earned a Diploma in General Studies. My major program of study is still General Studies, but the main reason why I am taking this trip is that I want to explore French culture to gain more knowledge. I had thought that if I visited museums in France, I would be able to know much more about French art and artistic techniques. But unfortunately, I am still struggling to learn about the art and the art history as I am a beginner. Something interesting I want to share is that I am glad that I am in France this year and I get to experience French culture directly, especially the wind touching me. So far this has been a good experience, but the hot weather sometimes bothers me and the costs (because of the Euro) are too high. Despite all this, I am willing to come back to France again.
What has met or exceeded your expectations or surprised you about Paris (or Kassel) so far?
What has met or exceeded my expectation is just how cultural Paris is-- it has so many good museums, and every district or area has a cultural venue to visit. Unlike Vancouver, where there are not many museums (and they are not especially good), Paris is such an attractive, incredible, and interesting city, which makes tourists desire to see every single landmark. What surprised me about Paris so far is that I see Paris is like Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, nicknamed "Paris of the Orient" based on the sight, smell, and sound.
Give us some insight into your assigned artwork from the Orsay Musuem. After seeing the work in person in Paris (and any other related art from the same artist or art movement associated with the assigned work), what struck you most about it and/or how did the artwork’s form, content, and context shift for you when seeing it.
I was not able to find my artwork in the Musee D’Orsay (as it was on loan), but I found another artwork that was similar to my assigned painting, Paul Gauguin, Self Portrait With A Hat (1893-4), because it too is a self-portrait by the same artist. After I see the work in the Musee D’Orsay, what struck me most about the artwork is that the formal qualities of the painting are very different in person. For example, it looks more realistic and I see lighter colour when I look at it in the museum. When I originally saw my assigned painting in the computer and the printed version one, I felt like I was staring more at a cartoon character. What shifted for me when seeing the painting in real life is that my assigned painting has a very specific background.
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?
The way I approached the creative task of responding to my artwork was to make a self-portrait, so I placed my likeness into the self-portrait to tell something about myself. It feels like I am playing a special type of character in the portrait, but it still represents my realities. Also, the background of my design is something that represents my life. My challenges are that I did not have the proper skills to design in the higher level I wanted to, although I attempted to follow the same techniques that Gauguin used to produce his work. Also, I do not usually like making art with classmates because I can get pretty distracted. I feel better to work individually unless I need help with my design. Right now, I would not do anything different because I am not an artist-- I am treating this program as a beginner, so I need to take things simply for now.
Today’s activity was a sunset bike tour through Paris. What were your impressions? What will you take away of the experiences of this day? What are the most memorable moments for you?
The bike tour allowed me to see Paris in a different way. During the last week in Paris, I had seen Paris as a pedestrian, so I observed the view slowly. During the tour, I observed Paris by bike riding and hopping on a boat down the Seine. My impressions were incredible, and it made me feel like I was living a Parisian life. What will I take away of the biking experiences? When I return to Vancouver, I will use this experience to bike in Downtown Vancouver or other cities of the world. Besides gaining this experience, I wish I could in the future be the leader of such a tour, which is leading and teaching the group to ride around the city. The most memorable moments for me in this activity were taking photograph when I was on the boat. I was so surprised that I saw a lot of the landmarks of Paris and also it was nice that the leader of the bike tour provided us with beverages and told us about the city. I was so interested to learn from the bike tour leader about the history of Paris while I was on the boat.