Originally, born in France to an Irish dad and Texan mom, I moved to the UK at age of 14, and then to Amsterdam at 19. Currently I am taking a year out from my studies at UvA.
I went from a large family house on the side of a hill in France to an urban townhouse in Portsmouth, UK. Two very different cultures, which I had to adapt to, at the same time as not forgetting the Southern hospitality has been beaten into me by my mom since a young kid. On top of that, the amount of times I’ve been called a liar because “You don’t look/ sound like other French/ Irish/ American people I’ve met”, makes me appreciate a persons roots and how strongly they are linked to the person themselves.
Since moving to Amsterdam roughly 2 years ago, I’ve found a great deal of enjoyment and repos from walking around the city with my headphones on, which scream “Do not disturb!”. Otherwise basketball has taken up a large chunk of my free time whether it’s watching or playing it. The activity that takes the crown for me is snowboarding, sadly though there aren’t a lot of opportunities to keep practicing in the Netherlands. There’s something quite gripping about Amsterdam as city. I can’t quite put my finger on what it is but no matter where I am in the city, I feel it cuddling and welcoming me at the same time as it tries to throw me out. Best comparison I can think of for it is similar to having a bipolar girlfriend; never sure about which embrace you will come home to but always exciting.
My relation to street art is very much developing. It started out from seeing some pieces around through the years, and the W questions (What? Where? When? Who?) would be on an old-fashioned reel running through my mind; and I wouldn’t know, but that’s how I feel it’s supposed to exist, that mystique feel to it.
Street art confuses me, in the best way, otherwise I wouldn’t have joined SAMA. For clarity, it get’s very little widespread recognition, except for some notable exceptions, and yet it is possibly the most accessible form of design art. Does it’s lack of recognition come from the upper classes unwillingness to embrace it due to it’s origins, or because they can’t own it and control it with their cheque-books. And, if owned, is it still considered true street art?
In SAMA collection, my favourite probably has to be Suso 33. Simple, powerful, beautiful. As I look at one of his pieces, I feel part of a slowly gathering crowd consisting of him and everyone who has seen the piece in question.
As I previously said, street art confuses me. I could have kept being confused by this side of art and the lifestyle around it or learn about it in person. So why not learn about it at SAMA. My task at SAMA is to assist with the website, write and publish articles on social media (and blog), give tours, assist with productions and help to improve the marketing of SAMA.
I find SAMA's concept interesting because the foundation uses the form of art, which is seen as subpar, or dirty, or unprofessional in order to help a neighbourhood seen similarly by the rest of society. SAMA team makes the unattractive appealing by using the unappealing has a poetic justice ring to it. Even though my favourite artist in the SAMA collection is Suso 33, I would probably have to say that the piece Glory by Pez and Recal probably tops my list. It incorporates several witty, yet childish in a beautiful pure sense, twist on a classical well known dutch painting. Pez added a bird in the mirror creating an Inception/ Deadpool feel to it as though the 4th wall was being broken. An added little note is how Pez stayed true to his fish as you can see in the top left hand corner, almost as a reminder.
My primary learning objective is focused on community outreach as I feel that is the most impactful for myself and more so for those SAMA tries to reach. However, picking up a few skills in street art along the way is definitely a bonus. If I’m being honest, my joining of SAMA was partially motivated to move away from how my study views people (or as my books put it: consumers). I am hoping to be able to benefit SAMA by bringing a more analytical perspective to the group, whilst taking away from all the knowledge available from those at the organisation in regards to this industry and environment. My main objective whilst being at SAMA is to gain a better understanding of how it benefits the local community and then the ability to reproduce that. If I’m able to have a positive impact on this community or this organisation then I will consider my experience here worth it. A secondary objective is to make connections with a section of the population I may never have come in contact with.
What has been the funniest / most impressive moment/experience during your time in Amsterdam/ at SAMA so far? Meeting Anna.