Thursday, September 2, 2010

Traveler Spotlight: Emily from Perth

During the ice cream social last week, I started talking to Emily when she asked for a recommendation of where to check out some great street art (I recommended Pilsen). She was nice enough to tell me about her travels and her own experience with street art!

What’s your name?

Where are you from?

Perth, Australia.

What do you think of Chicago?
Oh, I love it. It trumps New York in my opinion. New York is too big, too busy. Chicago is really big but I prefer it. Then again I’m from a small city.

What have you done here so far?
Well, I just got here, so not much yet. But I have been walking around… I walked across the River and then went to Navy Pier, and came back and walked around Millennium Park, which was really cool!

What are you doing in Chicago?
Pretty much just visiting. I mean, actually…I can tell you, I don’t think you’ll care. I’m actually using tiles that I’ve bought in Australia, and putting them up as public art in different cities in the States.

Hmm…so what exactly do you mean?
Well, I’ve bought tiles in Australia, and I’m doing sort of like an art series. I find a good spot in every place – I’ve been to DC, Philly, New York, Oregon, Lake Tahoe, and now Chicago – where I think it’ll fit, and I put adhesive on the tile and put it up somewhere.

So it’s kind of like guerilla street art?
Yeah, have you heard of Banksy? It’s a similar concept to that. I guess it’s classified as graffiti but I think of it as street art.

So do you study art in Australia?
Yes, I’m studying in Perth, although I deferred a year to spend it in the States.

Is this tile street art related to what you do in school?
No, not really. More than anything it’s giving me a purpose in this year-long trip. It’s quite fun to put them up. I’m also documenting them on a private album and basically dedicating some of my installations to certain friends. It’s really for me, though. I’m not trying to get famous or noticed or anything, it’s just special for me.

What about chronicling these? Do you plan to turn it into an art series when you get back to Australia?
I don’t think so. But I’m taking photos of each of them. And then I just write every day. I’d love to do travel journalism, actually.

Have you had any close calls when putting up the tiles?
Not really. I just act really casual when I find my spot, you know, I just put the glue on, kind of lean against the wall and bam, it’s on the wall! When I was putting it up in New York a cop drove by, but you know, it’s New York and there’s so much going on already, so they didn’t notice.

So what are you doing after Chicago?
I’m actually planning on moving out to LA to work. I have some friends there and I have a work visa. I just want to work as a waitress, something like that to help me get by.

Have you hostelled before?
Yeah, in Australia. I’ve noticed that in Australia the hostel culture isn’t as big. In Australia you can find them for cheaper and it’s more of a drinking and partying environment. But here, they’re nice and cleaner. And you’re paying double, but for double the quality.

Well, thanks for sharing your story with me!
No problem, thank you too!

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