Day 4 in New York, and what a lovely day it is! I can't believe how fast this trip is going so far, though I have been busy. I feel like I haven't really seen much of the city because of dashing about to meetings, and spending large periods of time in one place. However, today I plan to spend a chunk of the day relaxing, and exploring downtown. I don't have a particular plan, I just want to wander and take photos - let's see what I find! Before any exploration, I have a 10am meeting at Pearlfisher (HOW EXCITING!!).
Pearlfisher, based in London, New York, Copenhagen and San Francisco, is a strategic creative and brand design agency, that build the world's most desirable brands. They have an impressive roster of clients, including: Cadbury, Starbucks, Reeves, Havana Club, Jamie Oliver, Jim Beam, and Ben & Jerry's. I'm beyond excited to have a portfolio review with Pearlfisher today, as the branding/packaging for many of their clients, are among my favourites that enamoured me as a child, and still do today.
Pearlfisher NY is housed in a pretty unassuming building, pretty much identical to those along the street - Broadway, in fact. There is no flashy sign on the exterior, and no exterior branding, besides a small logo on a shared door into a foyer. Because of this, we accidentally took the stairs up to the backs of the businesses, and knocked on the back door of Pearlfisher. In typical Falmouth style, you could say. The office is sleek and modern, yet isn't a sterile white environment like some modern office spaces. It is filled with artwork, a social atmosphere - designers work in an open plan space, not separate offices, much like our studio back in Falmouth. Welcoming us in, our hosts, Kasi and Kitman, showed us to a briefing room, and gave us an insight into the company.
Kasi and Kitman rotated around the table, and saw us one by one, though it was far less formal than The Society of Illustrators. It was more a small discussion, as my peers listened and watched as each person had their review. We discussed:
The design portfolio - aim to show process, as well as product
At Pearlfisher, you must be a team player, and and contribute to the process - being in your junior years should not put you off from giving your insight into the project.
Don't be precious about your work, be open to feedback as this will help you improve.
On my portfolio:
More packaging projects - the ones I have currently are great, and this is an area I am strong in and should develop further.
Continue working on projects you love - it is clear which work I am passionate about.
Including mock-ups in my portfolio was wise, as this gave it a professional edge.
Work with more text - become more familiar with the relationship it has with imagery.
When leaving the meeting, and Pearlfisher, we exchanged business cards, and I of course, left my pack of goodies. This went down particularly well with the team! Another good meeting on the books, and a great start to the day.
The White Horse Tavern
Following my meeting at Pearlfisher, I had a free day. After a little research, I only had one goal: to visit The White Horse Tavern. The White Horse Tavern is known for being one of the few major gathering-places for writers and artists from 1950s and 1960s Bohemian culture in Greenwich Village. The bar opened in 1880, and was known more as a dock-worker's bar, than a literary hub until famous Welsh poet, Dylan Thomas (and other writers), began frequenting it in the early 1950s. Thomas is said to have found The Tavern reminiscent of his favourite haunts in his home country of Wales. I was delighted at this fact, and having not been in Wales for over 3 months, this was very much something to look forward to.
In November of 1953, Thomas beat his own personal record by downing eighteen shots of whiskey. Soon after his last drink, he stumbled outside, and collapsed on the pavement. He was taken to the Chelsea Hotel and there fell into a coma; the next morning he was transferred to St. Vincent’s Hospital where he died. Another of the White Horse's famous patrons is Jack Kerouac, who was bounced from the establishment on more than one occasion - because of this, someone scrawled onto the bathroom wall: "JACK GO HOME!".
After a swift midday half at the White Horse Tavern I wanted to wander around the area a bit more - a break from the skyscrapers was very much on the cards. Greenwich Village is a beautiful part of the city - full of small restaurants, and boutique shops. Most of the buildings of Greenwich Village are mid-rise apartments, 19th century row houses, and the occasional one-family walk-up, a sharp contrast to the high-rise landscape in Midtown and Downtown Manhattan.
The friends apartment & stonewall
Stopping every now and then to take photos, I wandered through most of The Village. I came across a block of flats that I thought I recognised - though I couldn't place it for the life of me. There were other people standing on the corner near me, posing, and taking photos.
An apartment on the corner of Bedford and Grove - FRIENDS! This was the apartment block used in the exterior shots.
Rather than a coffee house below, theres a restaurant called "The Little Owl" - absolutely devastated, the utter deception. What an amazing random find, though. While I couldn't ever see myself living in a city like NY, coming into The Village has certainly changed my mind! The small streets, and lack of skyscrapers does it for me - and who doesn't want to live in the FRIENDS apartment?!
From the apartment, I walked my way back to the subway, back through Christopher Street. Christopher Street is the site of the Stonewall Inn - the bar whose patrons fought back against a police raid, starting the 1969 Stonewall Riots. The uprising is widely seen as the birth of the liberation movement, and the modern fight for LGBT+ rights in the USA.
The Stonewall Inn is near a small park, containing sculptures by George Segal. Honouring the historic movement, Segal's conception for "Gay Liberation" is typical of his work. Four figures are positioned in natural poses - 2 males (standing), and 2 females (sitting). Using a process involving real human models, bronze casts were made from plaster moulds. The casts have been painted brilliant white, giving the sculptures an ethereal finish. The result is specific, evocative, and understated, showing the public comfort and freedom, to which the gay liberation movement aspired.
The Art Bar
Apparently, it is tradition for the NY Falmouth trip to all meet together for a drink at The Art Bar. I don't get the hype for getting sloshed, but a casual few I am up for! I headed back to my hostel, dumped my bags and met up with my roommate to make our way out for some dinner, and head over to the bar together. The Art Bar is small, dark and cosy. For the locals tonight, however, it was crammed full of Falmouth students talking all this New York and illustration... or 'would you rather' questions. The back room was stacked with us, all on different levels of seating - very still life. For some reason, this bar had a roaring fire in an old tiled fireplace, and very much reminded me of a Hogwarts common room. After a few rums, we were on the road to get back and get some sleep before another busy day tomorrow.
The route back to the subway, though, led me by this Psychic and Crystals place. I wonder if someone in there could have told me what is to come for the rest of the trip? Or perhaps if I'll deck it walking across the stage at graduation?!