A quick vacation during the university's reading week, it's almost surreal having real time off during this time of the year (though we still have assignments due). Planning a getaway through England, most likely one of many during this year, a few friends and I decided to venture out to see Cambridge, Nottingham, York and Liverpool for the week.


On a solo venture to London today, I went to see the Ray & Charles Eames exhibit at the Barbican. Exploring the east of London, I also found my way to the Whitechapel gallery and the Somerset House. I had just missed a display of Saul Leiter's work at the Somerset and was a bit disappointed. Regardless, it was enjoyable seeing London without any responsibilities or obligations.


Hard as I try, I always find my way back to the Tate Britain, hoping to see Francis Bacon's work for a little longer.


There are three main museums in the Museum Quarter, just by Vondelpark; The Rijksmuseum (with a collection of works by Rembrandt, Vermeer), the Van Gogh Museum and the Stedeljik Museum. 

One of the first destinations was the Van Gogh Museum. It was really exciting being able to see Van Gogh’s Almond Blossom (1890) painting after all these years. Standing closely to his paintings, you get a sense of the amount of colour he used the sensitivity to the strokes he used. The painting was a lot smaller than I imagined, but I think that sort of applies to all paintings when you see them in real life.


Looking for a quick getaway during the November study week, I found myself in Amsterdam again. I had previously visited the city in 2013 after going on holiday in Vienna and Prague and missing my flight home. It’s much more relaxing coming back willingly this time. 

Travelling around Europe is one major goal for me this year and having the opportunity to be so close to everything.

It’s difficult to judge whether I enjoyed Amsterdam in the summer or fall more as the summer brings out the colour of the houses by the canals, but the fall is much kinder on visiting galleries.


After plenty of consideration, I’ve chosen the relationship between the designer and formulaic and systematic design. If the thought about grids is of no interests to you. I’ll let you stop while you’re ahead.

What started out as wanting to explore authenticity in web design has transformed more into an exploration of modernist philosophy moving into web design and artificial intelligence. How this happened, I’m not sure, but it’s been a really fulfilling exploration.


One of the small obstacles being abroad is trying to figure out the different keyboards layouts. It’s interesting how minor design changes can make such a huge difference. Learning to get used to different keyboards here have been a hassle, but an interesting observation in product design and usability. Just a geographical change is noticeable, I wonder what it’s like for countries so close together with different languages and characters.


The Tate Britain was one of my first destinations to see some of Francis Bacon’s works. I had previously seen his portraits at the Metropolitan Museum in New York for the first time in January. It’s definitely something that can be said about his personality when you see the choice of painting size for his self-portraits compared to his other works that tower over visitors. That, and also the fact museum curators had to frequently rush to pick up his paintings after he called to say they were finished before he changed his mind and destroyed them.

It’s also nice to see his work much more easily available to read about and see, compared to in Vancouver. I purchased Bacon’s Eye which is a collection of the artist’s personal sketches and found photography. It’s a thin art book, and only in my first week, I have to remind myself I’ll have to bring back all these potential art books with me on my way home.



Taking the British Rail for the first time and arriving to King’s Cross. I wandered aimlessly until finding myself at the UAL. Luckily I managed to catch the graduate show at UAL Central Saint Martin. The school year in England starts much later so it’s interesting to see grad shows still up so late into September. It’s exciting to see what people come up with in their final years. I was particularly interested in a typeface called Seen by Emil Kozole, that automatically strikes out any ‘spook’ words tracked by the US National Security Agency (NSA) and the UK’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ).


The first few days have mostly been learning my way around Hatfield and joining tours and generally getting to meet new people. One of the biggest benefits of living abroad in England is being able to meet people from all backgrounds in a very short space. There’s something really exciting about hanging out with a game designer from Denmark, a product designer from America and an interior designer from Indonesia.

Trying to get myself settled into a daily routine, I’ll admit one of my first biggest problems was the conversion from CAD to the Pound. It’s a tough blow seeing a daily coffee priced the same but in Pounds. I’ve learn to be a bit more creative rationing what Vancouver coffee I managed to bring over…