Note To Self

Inspiration, Travel
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Bass Coast Music & Arts Festival, Merritt, British Columbia (July 2017)

“Push yourself to do more and to experience more. Harness your energy to start expanding your dreams. Yes, expand your dreams. Don’t accept a life of mediocrity when you hold such infinite potential within the fortress of your mind. Dare to tap into your greatness.”
– Robin S. Sharma

Give Me Contrast

Travel
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Austin, Texas (January 2017)

“To me, a rich and satisfying life means one full of contrast. Give me sleep ins. And soft rains. Coffee shops and conversations. But also adrenaline and adventure. And drunken bellows to the stars. I am determined to embrace this life for all it has to offer.”
– 
Beau Taplin

Keep On Chasing

Inspiration, Travel
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Austin, Texas, USA (January 2017)

“Every day, every week, every month, and every year of my life, my hero is always ten years away. I am never going to be my hero. I’m not going to attain that. I know I’m not. And that’s just fine with me because that gives me something to keep on chasing.”
– Matthew McConaughey

Video Blog – May 2016

Inspiration, Study Abroad, Travel

Instead of uploading photos and telling you about what I’ve been up to, I thought this time I would show you. In three minutes and forty two seconds, you will glimpse into a month of my adventures in Breda, Tilburg, Utrecht, Eindhoven, Den Hague, Kinderdijk, Gouda, Brussels, Sliema, Gozo, Valletta, Mdina, Rabat… and maybe a few other destinations.

“I had a dream so big and loud.
I jumped so high I touched the clouds.
I stretched my hands out to the sky.
We danced with monsters through the night.

I’m never going to look back. 
Whoa, I’m never going to give it up. 
No, please don’t wake me now.
This is going to be the best day of my life.”

When This Adventure Ends

Study Abroad, Travel

Hallo vrienden!

I was inspired to make a short film about my life here in the Netherlands. You can see a bit about what my every day looks like, from my friends, to transportation, to festivals, studying, arts and culture, and other activities. Most of the footage used is from the city where I live (Breda), Amsterdam, Den Hague, Utrecht, and Den Bosch. Genieten!

“When this adventure ends, your next one will begin.”

Live A Life You Will Remember

Inspiration, Travel
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Street Art By Hero De Janeiro (Spuistraat, Amsterdam, 2016)

When thunder clouds start pouring down
Light a fire they can’t put out.
Carve your name into those shining stars.
He said, “Go venture far beyond these shores.
Don’t forsake this life of yours.
I’ll guide you home no matter where you are.”

One day my father – he told me, 
“Son, don’t let it slip away.”
When I was just a kid I heard him say, 
“When you get older
Your wild heart will live for younger days
Think of me if ever you’re afraid.”

– The Nights By Avicii

Also, I recommend that you watch this video.

 

By Your Side In Barcelona

Study Abroad, Travel
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Barcelona, Spain (April 2016)

“Every time you have to go,
I shut my mind and you know.
I’ll be lying right by your side
In Barcelona.”
– George Ezra

I spent an amazing few days with my best friend in her new home of Barcelona. While we completed many exciting activities, my favourite stories include being surprised with tickets to hear classical music at Palau De Musica Catalunya (the second most beautiful building I’ve ever seen next to the Sagrada Familia), sunburning my entire backside after I fell asleep on Barceloneta Beach, and enjoying so much incredible street art and murals in the Sants neighborhood.

Easter Update

News, Study Abroad

This afternoon I celebrated Easter with some friends from Portugal, Curaco, Italy, Spain and The Netherlands. We enjoyed some delicious home cooked Italian food, a chicken and rice dish, perogies and sausage, and a heavenly cheesecake. I had a great Friday night enjoying the Dutch Street Art Awards in Amsterdam. I met many street artists from across the world and of course, The Netherlands. It was an amazing party and superbly planned awards show. Shout out to The London Police who won the Legend award and dedicated their win to a passionate artist who passed away last year. Thanks to Amsterdam Street Art for inviting me!

I must say acknowledge that my heart is going out to every country in the world right now with the recent attacks in Brussels, Belgium. There have been multiple scares in The Netherlands, but everything is fine here. The Dam Square was lit up to support our neighbours, similar to when Paris events occurred in November. It is so tragic and just so awful that these kind of events are happening all the time across the world. Each time, I find myself in shock and I don’t know how to comprehend that as human beings we can treat each other this way. Also, of course, I am fine. I received some messages as friends and family were worried of my safety. Though Breda is close to the border, all is well here. This is a reminder, to treat your neighbours (and strangers) with kindness. We could all use it.

Quick Update From Amsterdam

News, Study Abroad, Travel

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Near Amsterdam Centraal (March 2016)

Hey everyone! I have been really busy completing lots of research in Amsterdam for my thesis this past week. I have met lots of talented street artists from around the world! Just a few days ago, I had the chance to watch The London Police at work on a mural in The Student Hotel Amsterdam City’s bike locker. While I intently watched them hard at work, I was able to interview them and have a great conversation. This was such an incredible experience that just left me high on life! As a self dubbed street art geek, I was so happy to be in the presence of such well known artists and to watch them create so freely. Words just can’t express how amazing an experience like this was for me. Basically, my past week has been full of meeting lots of great people and wandering throughout the streets and canals of Amsterdam searching for tags, stickers, throw ups, murals, and street art of all kinds. As you can imagine, I’m just loving life here in the Netherlands. Throughout the next few weeks of March, I will be travelling to London, spending time with friends, working on my thesis and attending the first ever Dutch Street Art Awards. AMAZING!

Study Trip To Amsterdam

Study Abroad, Travel
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Rembrandt’s House (February 2016)

Though I have been working on my thesis for the past few weeks, I have mostly been reading a lot of academic articles and books to expand my knowledge on the subject of street art. Today I ventured to Amsterdam to interview an employee of a street art gallery and document several pieces in the city centrum. It felt great to accomplish something outside of a library setting and to meet artists in the industry. I was thrilled with this progress.

I also made some stops at a few places I have been wanting to visit, including Rembrandt’s house. He lived and worked in this home for over twenty years, and taught thousands of pupils in this space. It was fascinating to see this in real life. If you don’t know me that well, I love Rembrandt so much that I named my cat after him. True story.

I stopped into Oosterkerk and Westerkerk which are two beautiful churches dating back a few hundred years. And funnily enough, I learned about the history of tulips in Holland at the Amsterdam Tulip Museum. (It smelled so amazing inside – if you can only imagine!)

All in all, I had a fabulous day exploring one of my favourite cities.

Graphic Design Festival Breda

Artwork, Exhibits, Travel
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Blind Walls Gallery In Mols Parking (October 2015)

From September 25th to October 25th, 2015, there is a festival across Breda focused around graphic design and digital art. Graphic Design Festival Breda is meant for contemporary creatives to allow one to view the world differently with a month of public interventions, exhibitions, talks, tours, and workshops in the city centre. This festival is offered every two years, and this is the fifth year that it has taken place.

 This past weekend, I signed up for a tour of some of the street art in the city centre. I still have yet to see all of the outdoor murals and pop up art exhibitions, so stay tuned for more photos. As part of the festival, many new murals have been added in the centre from international artists around the world. Several of these works shown above are from artists in Rotterdam and Amsterdam, including the same one who designed the famous Markthal in Rotterdam.

 I learned a lot about these murals, some of which I had already seen before, but now I have a deeper perspective on each one. For example, in the Mols Parking lot, this area has thousands of people buried below the concrete from the terror of the black plague in 1353. Much later on, a large circus was hosted here, with many exotic animals. This area is home to at least eight large scale murals. One of the murals (the one with the mice) focuses on a child’s perspective of the black death. Another has uses the subject of a circus theme to further develop a sense of place, and add to Breda’s unique history.

The orange one that features the words “Any day, Queens day” is a love letter from an American artist to the city of Breda. The smaller words across the wall are examples of why this artist loves this country, and shares a sense of pride for women, especially, whom at the time this mural was made, the Queen of The Netherlands. At present, King Williem-Alexander is the monarchical figurehead. There was originally another wall with more words, but the shop expanded a few years and had to remove a piece of the artwork.

There is another mural by an American artist, Mike Perry, in the same alleyway who uses a poem by Mike Nicolas as inspiration. The poem is a palindrome, so the mural can be read from left from right, or right to left, and have a different meaning. Very neat!

All of these murals that are outdoors and around the city centre are a part of the growing ‘Blind Walls Gallery’. From what I have learned, this gallery is building from the idea that Breda once had fortifying city walls, now fallen of course, and utilizes presently blank wall space to build up a new wall, new culture, and to bring new life to the city. I must also tell you about the Three Seconds Gallery, which is housed in an underground parking lot. In the entrance/exit of the lot, there are artworks lined up along the walls on both sides. Each individual piece of art has a motion sensor. As cars enter or exit, which in theory takes about three seconds, the artwork as a whole responds to the car’s movements. So innovative!

One of my personal favourites of the tour was enjoying the Open Submissions Gallery at Stadsgalerij, a pop up gallery for the festival. The title of this gallery is What Do You Do? All of the works featured here were sent in from artists and every day people around the world anonymously, and then selected to be put on display. The beauty of this, is that simply anyone, whether professional or not, could have their artwork featured here. The theme of the works was “What does a graphic designer do?”

One last neat thing I learned from this tour, that a fountain in Valkenberg Park I pass by often on my way to university has a special purpose. There are many famous people who have originated from Breda, and it is said that if one drinks from this fountain, they are destined to be famous. It is another way of looking at the saying, “There is something in the water.” I thought this was a neat tidbit of information that I otherwise would have not known.

For anyone currently reading this, I would highly recommend checking out at least one of the many events hosted by the Graphic Design Festival Breda. The tour I took is offered on Fridays and Sundays until the end of the festival and only cost five euros; which is very inexpensive considering the amount of information and the excellent experience I took away from this.

From an academic perspective, I am brainstorming ideas for my upcoming thesis project. I am thinking about using examples of street art to argue if this type of community can develop a destination. I’m still working on the final research topic, and if you, dear readers, have any insight, ideas on books to read, etc, please comment below.

Utrecht City

Travel
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Utrecht, The Netherlands (September 2015)

One of my favourite things to do on the weekends is to go on an adventure of some kind! This past Saturday, Natalie and I ventured to the nearby city of Utrecht. Coincidentally, Utrecht is also one of the thirteen provinces here; although the city is the main hub of this area.

We had a wonderful day, as we came across the Nederlands Film Festival. It’s a large scale annual festival showcasing innovation and creativity in Dutch films. We couldn’t see a full-length film in the cinema, although we had the chance to view some short films in a pop up theatre on the street. We also came across a group shooting a film in progress on a street in the centre. There was a large stage outside the main theatre with several DJs performing. The unique thing about this performance was that their music was powered by a bicycle!

We wandered through a great art market with locally made products. I saw lots of great artwork on display here – including handmade delft blue jewelry. We window shopped in a few boutiques, wandered around the DomKerk, and found a public art exhibition. The exhibition was called ‘No Privacy’ and was actually large photographs of the square we were standing in. I believe the photos were taken by drones or from a camera at the top of the church. It was such a great contrast of new age artwork and historical culture.

One of the many highlights of my day was seeing such great street art throughout the centrum. On top of one of the indoor malls we spotted an enormous tea pot resting on the roof. Another great piece was a poster plastered in an alleyway of an otter with a statement on climate change. I saw a sticker on a garbage can that had some great inspirational material. It read, “Know your history. Know your purpose. You are a spiritual being. Everything is balanced. The present is our goal.”

Overall, we had a lovely day trip and explored another stunning city here in the Netherlands.

It’s The Little Things…

Inspiration
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Breda, The Netherlands (September 2015)

After my classes today, I stopped by the Albert Heign to buy some groceries. I found this beautiful chalk mural on the cobblestone out front of the store with no signature. It was quite large, and of course, very beautiful. When I left the store, it was beginning to rain.

This is another reminder that we must live in the moment every single day. Take nothing for granted and appreciate the little moments in life.

Street Art

Study Abroad, Travel
Street Art in Breda's City Centre

Street Art By Brazilian Artist, Cranio (Breda, The Netherlands, August 2015)

I have to say I’m loving the culture here in the Netherlands – especially, the historical buildings and the large amounts of art in public spaces. When I was driving around the south a few days ago, I saw lots of art in the centre of roundabouts and along the highway. I hope Canada can learn a few lessons from this beautiful country. For example, back in Kamloops, we have a piece of artwork in one of our roundabouts. It has not been well received and often locals have comments about it. Roundabouts are being used more and more in Canada’s urban development. Wherever I go by train, there is plenty of well done graffiti along the concrete walls of city centers. It is simply amazing.