On an Easter Monday back in early May, Z, J, and I went on a cycling wander with our friends in Amsterdam. Though it was chill and overcast, we had a fantastic day exploring Amsterdam Noord. Two of our bikes on the deck of the ferry A club called Sexyland in Amsterdam Noord
Edge of the beach outside at Pllek (pllek means Place in Dutch)
Entering the town of Nieuwendammerdijk
Bell gables hide steeply pitched roofs #squadgoals 🙂
Here is a painting from a small series I did back in 2007. (It’s hard to believe that was a decade ago!) This is Amsterdam II, and it has been sold! Its new home will be in California, and I’m very excited for its new adventure.
Though I love having my art in my own home, it’s really meant to go out into the world and be enjoyed by others, so I’m super happy that someone loved it enough to buy it. And in this case, he gets the bonus of an original hand-crafted Mad Framer floating frame in the deal.
This map, which I designed / illustrated for Pendergast in Amsterdam, went live on their website a week or two ago. I worked with them to articulate entryways to the neighborhood, highlighting routes for cyclists, cars and public transport.
In the midst of designing, I traveled to Amsterdam. We held meetings. I went to the restaurant a number of times— on foot, cycling, and on the tram. As I already had a solid representation in my head of this neighborhood that I was physically unfamiliar with, I never had to consult Google. The map works.
Additionally, having spent time in the restaurant and experiencing several dinners there was instructional (and delicious). When I returned those firsthand experiences were invaluable in the final process of interpretation for style, for vibe.
The aim was for a map both useful and attractive, incorporating the restaurant’s branding without sacrificing usability. In the final phase we decided to add icons of major landmarks to further aid those new to the area. I’m happy to say we’re all pleased with it.
Here’s a drawing from two days ago; I was sitting at a cafe on Elandsgracht before meeting Tineke at Antiekcentrum.
Yesterday involved lots of cycling— around the Northwest part of town; through and around the Westerpark; and all around the new industrial / office area, Houthavens. Really interesting. It was a day of dramatic skies and Wind Tegen— that’s the Dutch term for when the wind is in your face no matter which way you’re cycling! (Wind Mee is when the wind is at your back, sailing you along.)
Landed in Amsterdam to a blustery day and a welcome nap in W&B’s guest room with the cat before headed out to the Jordaan for a beer at Cafe t’Smalle. Then walked westward.
Dinner at Pendergast was super (especially as I’d not eaten since early morning). A Friday night, fully booked— they had to turn away walk-ins. Tineke and I sat at the bar and caught up, shared food. Left empty plates then complained of being too full.
I stayed past the last tram, so Wouter loaned me his bike and he rode on the back of Brandon’s. I followed behind them in the drizzle, tried to memorize them, their unerring fluidity. Wouter looked so at ease, perched cross-legged and leaning against Brandon’s backpack, whistling some tune. (He wasn’t slouching as much as in the drawing.)
It’s the sort of thing we do as children but are scolded for it, so lose it growing up. “It’s too dangerous!” But in the Netherlands, it’s commonplace. The person driving gets some momentum, then the person riding jumps on the back. In a cycling culture, a bike becomes an extension of the body— but also there’s an evident trust between them.
I shouted into the wind. “You look so relaxed!” Through the rain, “I am relaxed!” and continued whistling.
A poster commissioned by Luff for their upcoming show at Union Hall in Brooklyn. They wanted something wintry yet warm, and though at first I was thinking of ice boats, my mind quickly jumped to the thought of ice skating on canals— so naturally I decided on an image of Amsterdam. Clearly this isn’t a literal rendering, as the canal is not bordered by houses (nor the ubiquitous bicycles, nor cars). For simplicity’s sake, and a cleaner silhouette of the trees, I made instead a single row of the iconic houses in the back, lined up in front of the Zuiderkerk tower.
A couple of offerings from the Moleskine that turned out decently from last weekend. Also, a photo of my European-trip-inspired shadow box sporting a Parisian pigeon feather, a lens from a vintage vision-test optics machine, and a bit of dried flora plucked from Flevopark in Amsterdam on the day we cycled to the Distilleerderij ‘t Nieuwe Diep, sadly closed for the season.
“To finish the moment, to find the journey’s end in every step of the road, to live the greatest number of good hours, is wisdom.”
— Ralph Waldo Emerson, Experience, from Essays: Second Series
Here is a holiday which, more than most, seems to engender feelings of ambivalence (in the definitive ‘love-hate’ sense, not the oft-misused ‘indifferent’ sense). Everything is a convention of some sort or other; life remains insoluble. That’s a good thing. Shrug off contrivances— live deliberately or with abandon or both, but live wisely, live well. Happy Friday!