Notely Founder and Brisbane-based designer, Jenica Smith, had a whirlwind Easter vacation to New York City.
Here, she shares 5 moments for the creative soul…
New York, New York! It’s the city I always said I’d go to, but life always seemed to throw some other curveball at me and I had never quite made it to the home plate. You might know the feeling. Like a fire in your belly that you just can’t ignore anymore, I knew it was time to put everything aside and make a trip I had yearned so long for. It was time to find my own way to New York.
After a few initial travel hiccups with flight delays and the seemly inevitable situation of lost baggage, I was finally at my new abode in Manhattan, and had a few wistful days ahead to explore and delight my creative soul.
Here’s my top 5 wonderful moments in New York that I’ll treasure for years to come…
1. Wandering and journaling at the MoMA
The Museum of Modern Art was definitely on my dream gallery list and I strolled for hours through modern exhibits and the classics. After a big day of taking it all in, with a warm bowl of pasta and a cheeky daytime glass of red, I watched the busy street below while scribbling my thoughts in one of my well worn Notelys. The bustling street below seemed so far away when my head was buzzing with ideas and inspiration that I just didn’t want to be lost on my trip. Even though this had been a long time coming, I am so committed to make sure that my memories and inspiration from that time don’t just slip away. Whether it be pages of planning or a quickly scrawled idea, my Notely is never far away to help cement the place, the moment, or the brainwave that might strike in a fabulous location like MoMA.
Whether it be pages of planning or a quickly scrawled idea, my Notely is never far away to help cement the place, the moment, or the brainwave that might strike in a fabulous location like MoMA.
2. Rembrandt’s Self Portrait in The Frick Collection
A good friend recommended the Frick gallery and I’m so glad she did. The first part of the building was built between 1914 and 1917 as the home of Henry Clay Frick who rose to wealth through steel manufacturing. Sadly, he only lived in the house a few short years, but his wife and family since then have developed the home to what it is today. The guide told stories of the history of the home and how it’s becoming a center for arts and education. It was so peaceful sitting amongst the plants of the courtyard garden that’s at the center of the gallery.
Through an art buyer, Mr Frick purchased many classic paintings, and the hero of this collection, for me, was by far Rembrandt’s Self Portrait, 1658. The wrinkles and stern look of his face after years of practicing art was moving and emotional to witness and it’s still a strong visual memory I have of my trip. Seeing and understanding other creatives, no matter what generation they lived in, is a big part of how I continue to find inspiration for my own designs.
3. Cycling Central Park in Spring
The air was crisp and without exaggerating, bright red and yellow tulips lined almost every garden bed in sight. Having not cycled in years, the opportunity to jump on a bike on a beautiful Spring New York morning was something I couldn’t go past and it was so freeing to ride up and around the gardens.
The guide was funny, and I met a few other travelers from Australia. This tour was recommended by another friend and it was such an enjoyable way to take in such a large and enriching location like Central Park. With the blooming foliage and lushness of Springtime, I would have got out my sketchpad and paints right there and then to fully capture that time. Alas no, I didn’t have my tools with me so was content with just taking it all in on the spot. However, I can wholly recommend Central Park in Springtime for those who might be choosing when to go.
4. Whiling away time in Bryant Park
At the rear of the stately New York Public Library Building, is a large open green surrounded by outdoor chairs to sit, ponder, relax or enjoy a moment. This particular morning it was a full blue sky, and enjoyed my breakfast and coffee while sitting in the sun and doodling in my Notely. The outdoor library, Reading Room, also offers visitors the opportunity to peruse books or magazines from their collection while on site too.
5. CJ Hendry’s Rorsarch Show in Dumbo
A few years ago I saw CJ Hendry talk at a design conference in Brisbane about cool stuff she was creating in the art scene in Sydney. She’s since moved to Brooklyn and now known for her incredibly detailed coloured pencil drawings and large-scale art installation. Her show, Rorsarch, took over a huge Dumbo warehouse with a 3,000 sq/ft custom made white jumping castle. In seeking out the artwork, you first had to jump through the castle and make your way to the clearing where everything was hung. Reminding me of simple childhood pleasures, every person in the show was laughing and smiling their way through the exhibition and it was an emotional response beyond what I was initially expecting. It showed me so clearly that the joy of exploring and committing to new journeys should never be lost.
Seeing and understanding other creatives, no matter what generation they lived in, is a big part of how I continue to find inspiration for my own designs.
To take a memorable line from Jayz and Alicia Keys: "Those streets will make you feel brand new". Having spent years romanticising about this trip, I can say that for me those streets really did give exceed expectations and give me a real sense of ‘new’. With my inspiration tanks pumped back up to full and hints of a New York spark in my step, I’m grateful to have immersed myself in a variety of new creative moments that’ll inspire me for years to come.
Photography of Jenica and Notely by Aria Smith.
Landscape photography by Jenica Smith.