The Trip Overall

Anna Ambrose
day 17::reflection // 5.31.17

We began the trip already tired, but extremely excited and I think the feeling was universal.  We truly hit the ground running, immediately dropping off our bags and visiting a publishing site and grabbing dinner.  After a long travel day we slept and went to GWA where I was immediately impressed with my interest in the letterpress, especially being an abstract painter and printmaker.  I was consumed with type, but perhaps not in the most traditional way, however I learned type setting techniques and lockups and I found that to be extremely useful for my work as I begin to incorporate more text.  GWA overall became a place of creativity and critical thinking and we quickly became friends with everyone who worked there.  We were forced to work in groups, and although I am not one to be happy about collaboration, the forced group work helped ease my impatience with others as well as increase my ability to sacrifice my own ideas and be more accepting of others.  

At AGA, we quickly began workflow, which is my personal favorite.  I can do work for hours as long as it’s active, and on our very first day I hit the ground running with monotypes, and quickly exposed a polymer plate, and then another, as well as my woodblock print.  Overall I think I produced at least sixty prints, and my productivity did nothing but fuel my own fire and increase my drive.  Full studio days are exhilarating and I tend to want my feet to be numb by the end of the day.  As my work continued to get more experimental, as it tends to be, I decided to reign it back in a produce two editions, just to continue on with traditional printmaking.  When it comes to the riso, I had designers help me with text and imagery and what would look good.  It is extremely difficult to think in terms of a book, and this trip has helped me expand my mind beyond rectangles and one sided pieces of paper.  It was extremely valuable to work alongside designers, set aside my ego, and accept their expertise.  

Visiting the University of Amsterdam library helped spark my interest in calligraphy again after previously studying Japanese calligraphy.  I continuously was surprised with the things I found rather intriguing, especially because I was originally worried about the design aspects of the trip, but I found my fine arts studies to be beneficial to my knowledge of design, and they crossed over into the more typographic world.  Each visit brought with it a new and exciting thing for me.  Visiting “The Painted Bird” was extremely comforting to me as a painter but also an engulfing and sensual experience.  Although I was not impressed with all of the work inside, I would consider it my favorite place we visited.  It was so strong and structured, much like the house it actually was.  Jan Van Eyck was also amazing to see.  I was overwhelmed with the studio space and amenities that I could never find at App.  It’s refreshing to know that bigger and better things are out there and obtainable.

Work wise, the trip was challenging but also highly beneficial when it came to work ethic.  I found myself pushing myself harder and in shorter spans of time, which I hadn’t done often previously.  I was impressed with what I could do and what I could produce in two weeks as well as learning two new techniques: the riso and letterpress.  Mentally, the trip was extremely challenging and I cannot say I was the healthiest person, but I did not let it win and I am a stronger person because of those two and a half weeks.  I also learned how little sleep I can run off of as well as the flexibility I have when it comes to travel, planning, and quick changes.  I have honestly never been so proud of myself, for containing myself (for the most part), working hard, getting work done and done well, fighting off fatigue, and making it back in one piece.  I am excited to continue our project on interrogation and create even better work than I did in Amsterdam.  I was truly interrogated on this trip, and it was worth every second.     

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