02 October 2011

Look Homeward/Chicago's Calling

I am in Leuven, Belgium right now. Today is the last day of the poster expo at Het Depot for the Orange Factory 14 year weekend. Het Depot is an old elementary school that has been converted into a music venue. Seriously. It's pretty amazing.
Gary Houston and I arrived in Leuven from Dresden (by way of a series of trains that stopped/changed in Frankfort, Koln, and Liege along the way). It was a bit of an ordeal that involved some pretty tight timing, which meant regular episodes of running with our poster cases and luggage to the next train with minutes before our departure. Somehow we made it to Leuven on time and as planned where we were greeted and picked up by our friend Benny and taken to the venue to set up.
The weekend has been good, and the people here have been incredibly welcoming and hospitable. Leuven is full of beautiful old buildings that I can't stop looking at whenever I walk past them.
I finally fly back to Chicago tomorrow after three and a half weeks of traveling around Germany and Belgium exhibiting art and posters. I got to see cities I'd never seen before, stare at shelves in a model ship store for an hour, eat a piece of chocolate cake with avocado filling, sign an autograph, navigate the public transportation system in three different cities, and get rid of nearly all the posters I brought over. Four grown men laughed like kids in church on our way to a museum in Oldenberg and harassed a bunch of a sheep with our bad impersonations of the noises they make. I sent postcards to my lovely girlfriend back in Chicago. I scribbled down thoughts and rough drawings in my sketchbook on trains, at venues, and at the kitchen table in a host's apartment. I engaged in multiple conversations about the cultural relevance of poster art in both North America and Europe, as well as self-employment as a career and the prospect of using that career to build a life for oneself.

For as great as the trip has been, I have been aching to get back home. I've got a whole mess of work to tackle this week, as well as other exciting things on the horizon. Returning home is always such a warm feeling. This time, I can't even wait to step off the plane.

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