While my boyfriend, Jeff, was at work I decided to get out and explore some of New York on my own. Now there has been quite a heat wave in New York recently so I was looking for an indoor activity and began searching museums through an app on my phone. I came across the tenement museum located in the Lower East Side and decided that was where I needed to go.
I arrived at the museum and discovered that the museum consisted of four different tours for you to choose from. Each tour explored different restored apartments in the tenement building. One of the tours focused on two Jewish families who came to New York to work in the garment industry. Having read about the garment industry as it is today and the sacrifices that are made for our clothes, I have always had a desire to learn to make my own clothes. I knew I wanted to go on every tour the museum had to offer but for those reasons this one stood out to me and I purchased my ticket.
We left the museum entrance and gift shop to go to the actual tenement building. We were given little hand fans because this would not be a comfortable air conditioned tour after all. Great!
Still full of excitement for the tour I paid close attention to the words of our tour guide as she described the living conditions of the tenement. The lack of running water, electricity and no bathrooms. Inside she described the garment industry during that time, which to me did not sound much different than how it runs in other countries today
In the tenement building I felt extremely touched listening to the stories of those who came here in search of a dream. I have not experienced anything close to what they experienced coming to this country and this city, but I felt extremely close to them. I felt a connection as I thought about coming to New York and starting my own journey.
When I first started college I was a graphic design major. I know that graphic design is not where my passion is even today so it is not shocking that I felt the need to switch majors. Part of the switch was no longer wanting to do graphic design but part of it was fear that I couldn’t make it. I still don’t know what the outcome will be and I doubt those living in the tenement building knew theirs. But I know that my success depends on me and what I do to get myself there.
I am starting to apply for different residencies in New York and the stories from the tenement museum inspired me so much that I decided for one of my pieces to collage a tenement building.
It started out with a few thumbnail sketches. Some rough sketches.
I wanted to show two different perspectives of the tenement building one of the outside and then a glimpse at the apartments inside.
I originally intended for this collage to be more black and white, but when I began searching through my paper collection I came up with this color scheme….
And I couldn’t be more happier with the way it turned out.
I then began filling the rooms, and adding stairs and windows.
I have now finished the collage. Here is a peek at the final product also featured at the top. I also included some closeups of the individual rooms.
I chose to leave some of the rooms empty and layer them with different papers as you can see in the last photo. At the tenement building you could see the different layers of flooring that past families had left behind.
Overall I am really pleased with the way this piece turned out. Living in New York is going to be great. I can’t wait to wander through the streets, the parks, and the museums and let the creative juices flow!