Location | Paris: Meet Field School Blogger Andres Perez Castro

Meet Andres!

Tell us a little bit about yourself—school, background, major, reasons for taking this trip, anything else interesting you want to share.

Hi my name is Jose Andres Perez Castro and I am a Kwantlen Polytechnic University student. Currently, I am on my second year in General Studies, and my main goal is to transfer to UBC and apply to the Bachelor of Environmental Design program. My dream is to become an architect and I have dreamed about it since I was very little. My Mom and Dad have always designed and built houses when we lived in Mexico, and I can still remember when I was around 6 years old how I began to do little sketches and drawings of how I would design a room of the house, normally mine. Being able to participate in the Paris field school has inspired me even more to continue achieving my goals. I find the architecture here in Paris very astonishing, I was amazed with the grandiose and impressive architecture of the buildings at the center of Paris especially. Besides the huge inspiration for my future career goals, this field school has also helped me experience a totally different culture and to put in practice my French language skills. This trip has been a great experience for me and has created a stronger relationship with everyone in the group-- I do not think I see everyone as friends anymore, but instead more as a family.
Andres having fun at the Palais de Tokyo (notice his much beloved scarf!)
(photo courtesy: Kyubo Yun)
What has met or exceeded your expectations or surprised you about Paris so far?

The city of Paris is a very photogenic city no matter where you look. The architecture is very impressive in the center and also in the modern suburbs. When I first arrived in Paris, I found that the people were very aware on their appearance and the way they would look and show themselves to the public. I found out that fashion is a very important and crucial concept here in Paris. I really enjoyed my stay here in the city because I think it had a huge impact on me and on the way I dress as well. One of the first things I bought here in Paris was my scarf and when I first wore it I began to feel more like if I belonged to the city. Another thing that I found very interesting was the transportation and the way the whole city is connected through the usage of the metro. It is almost like there is a metro station in every square inch of the city. I found that traveling on metro was actually pleasant, especially when there were musicians playing during the ride.

Give us some insight into your assigned art work from the Musee d’ Orsay. After seeing the work in person, what struck you most about it and/or how did the art work’s form, content, and context shift for you when seeing it?

Paul Cezanne, Gustave Geffroy (1895-95)
On June 5th we were able to go to the Musee d’Orsay where I was finally able to see my assigned artwork for real and within just a few centimeters away from it. The name of this magnificent portrait painted by Paul Cezanne is Gustave Geffroy.  I found the painting to be bigger in size than what I had actually in mind, even though I had known the dimensions of the piece before. Being able to stand in front of the painting was a great experience for me because I was able to observe some of the actual brushstrokes and the way the paint was applied onto the canvas. I noticed the colors to be brighter and sharper everywhere on the piece, especially on the background and the bookshelves, which were the parts of the painting that Cezanne had spent most of his time on. Gustave Geffroy is a painting that Cezanne did not complete, and on some areas of the painting such as Geffroy’s face and hands, it is noticeable to see how Cezanne would sketch and apply the first layers with several different tones such as warm reds, yellows, blues, and browns. 

Waving hello from the Opera House
(photo courtesy: Kyubo Yun)
The painting was positioned in a corner of the room, however the painting occupied a whole wall just for itself. When Cezanne painted Gustave Geffroy, he tilted the desk towards the front of the composition in order to create an illusion, so the viewer would become more connected to the painting. The museum took in consideration the original intentions of Cezanne and therefore I find very incredible how the painting was hung at a certain height so that the viewer would experience the whole painting to its best effect. I find very interesting too how when I was analyzing the painting up-close and taking notes on my journal, this painting that nobody would stand for longer than 5 seconds in front of would become so crowded just because of the fact that I was standing in front of it and writing my notes.

Today’s activity included a bike tour of Paris. What were your impressions?  What will you take away of the experience?  What, if any are the memorable moments for you?
Our group bike ride through Paris was a bit wet.... to say the least.
The Eiffel tower "twinkles" at night and is quite
a beautiful sight from the bike tour.

On a fresh morning on June 15th , Erin, Tessa , Rosa came jumping, and skipping, and rushing to my room to wake me up. - Knock! Knock! Knock! - I heard. 'Who's there?' I said in my mind. I stood up and walked towards the door, and as I opened the door slowly, there was nobody on the other side. 'Fair enough then' I said 'I'll just go back to sleep just for a little while.' Suddenly I just realized I had to meet with them to go shopping. I rushed and as I opened the door again, I saw Rosa walking on the hallway. 'Let's go!' I said, and off we went for shopping to La Defence. Later on that evening, we began our trip towards the Eiffel Tower where we looked forward to our amazing and kind of wet bike ride. I felt the experience from the ride was incredible as I was able to see what it would be like to ride the center of Paris. The streets, I found them to be more congested than when we first arrived to the city. However, the streets turned out to be in fact more comfortable once you became a conductor instead of a pedestrian. During the bike ride, I was assigned a very important and crucial position for the group, 'Le Derrière.' My job was to stay behind the group to make sure everyone ahead of me was doing great. I was able to experience the city in a very different way during the bike ride because I felt like if I was a regular citizen who rides their bikes in the city. Some of the knowledge gained during the bike tour was very impressive, such as the history of how Paris was formed and the appearance of the Notre-Dame before when it used to be completely black. I believe that the connection between me and Paris grew stronger during this bike ride.