Posted on March 11, 2016

New York City Art Journal

I’ve just returned from my first visit to New York City and as my head explodes with ideas, plans and words as I try to express and capitalise on all the inspiration I’ve been exposed to, I thought I’d share my attempt to art journal my day-to-day experiences while I was away.

New York City/Manhattan Skyline in a fish bowlI’m part of the Get Messy Art Journal collective and my trip meant missing half of the Season of Happy.

Luckily I found my own ‘happy’, channeling an ‘Empire State of Mind’.

New York City Travel & Art JournalIt started with this cute Sukie Travel Journal that has a mix of lined and blank pages with little envelopes (some brown, some transparent) to keep tiny, delicate things in.

I glued in my trawl of papers, receipts and flyers every few days and wrote down some of the things I’d seen/visited – when I had a spare moment.

New York City Travel & Art JournalI visited both MOMA and MOMA PS1 and loved the little stickers they give out as entry tickets at PS1.

New York City Travel & Art JournalThere was a visit to one of the many speakeasies – Beauty & Essex.

The entrance is disguised as a pawn shop with all sorts of treasures to browse and a vintage cash register. It was a bit busy when we went and the smuck of maître d‘ were snippy and confusing so it wasn’t quite the full experience, but the interior looked suitably expensive and fabulous…

Meanwhile, I wanted a Kate Spade New York bag, but managed to resist. (It’s still a lot cheaper than a Chanel 2.55.)

New York City Travel & Art JournalI knew that Victoria had a secret because everyone had a shopping bag bearing her name. I was lucky enough to receive a surprise birthday gift from there though which made my day.I wasn’t disappointed on the tea-drinking front as is often the case when away from home.

On our first day of wandering I chanced upon T2 Tea and bought the coveted bamboo matcha whisk I’ve wanted for years and two kinds of matcha. I was served by a fellow ‘Rebecca’. It was fate.

Now I’m part of the T2 ‘tea society’ and coveting the beautiful teapots, milk jugs and handmade matcha bowls (yes, that’s a thing!).

New York City Travel & Art JournalDrinking Argo’s bubble tea and hot vanilla matcha were other tea highlights. I wish there was an Argo tea in Glasgow.

Luckily there is Tempo Tea Bar.

New York City Travel & Art JournalThis is a primitive little page featuring the circular remnants from postage stamps I bought at the Rockefeller Centre – you’ve got to work with the materials at hand in a travel situation. The Rockefeller wasn’t far from our hotel (which had an amazing pool and sauna – the perfect way to start the day).

Room Mate is a Spanish chain so I had a chance to practice my language skills. In the lift. To myself…

New York City Travel & Art JournalI was a bit unlucky with some places I wanted to visit being closed.

The Brooklyn Art Library was the biggest disappointment because I took part in the Sketchbook Project a few years ago and my sketchbook is archived there. It would have been so cool to see my little book again, but also check out some of the others. Note to self: a reason to return!

I did manage to visit Greenwich Letterpress (on the second try) and bought a wooden stamp set featuring this cute little taxi and a rendition of the Chrysler Building.

New York City Travel & Art JournalSince I got back I made a full page of ‘Happy Taxis’ using different coloured inkpads.

The idea popped into my jetlagged-head the other night when I couldn’t get to sleep and I wanted to get up straight away and start creating.

New York City Travel & Art JournalAnd the ‘Chrysler Tower Flower’ (my favourite page!):

New York City Travel & Art JournalEvery day in New York City felt like being on a filmset or in a book.

The street names and the sights. The buzz. The Empire State Building and Chrysler Building lit up at night acting as guiding stars through the city.

It was a lifetime of cultural references finally visited and captured in my heart (and travel/art journal).

Next: the photographs!


You Might Also Like


  • Reply Annette March 12, 2016 at 1:49 pm

    The Chrysler Building is one of my FAVOURITES ever. I’d love to see it someday.

    • Reply Rebecca Johnstone March 13, 2016 at 12:09 am

      It’s one of mine now too – so funky all lit up and there’s nothing quite like it, though the Empire State Building was a different colour each night which was cool too. Sometimes it was red, then blue, then white, and I’m sure green once. They were both like familiar faces after a few nights!

  • Reply Clare Etheridge March 13, 2016 at 12:44 am

    I love your taxi and Chrysler building stamps! So cool. What a great trip to NYC!

    • Reply Rebecca Johnstone March 14, 2016 at 2:35 pm

      Thanks Clare. I’m definitely going to have a lot more fun with the stamps. A yellow ink-pad is required! xx

  • Reply Carolyn March 13, 2016 at 3:15 am

    Ash, how exciting, Rebecca! We are heading there at the end of the year. So pleased you reminded me of the Brooklyn rat Library – I don’t have a sketchbook there but I remember the project taking place and people submitting them. I’ll have to go. If I see yours, I’ll take a photo x

    • Reply Rebecca Johnstone March 14, 2016 at 2:39 pm

      That would be amazing Carolyn! I saw on Instagram a few others had been disappointed not to be able to visit the art library and apparently they were accommodating visitors if you emailed ahead. Kicking myself for not thinking of that myself while I was there, though I don’t think many places would do that so it’s not so obvious… How long are you going for? I can’t wait to go back! xx

  • Reply Romana April 1, 2016 at 12:16 am

    The wonderful trip AND the travel journal you created!! What a super creative keep-sake!

    • Reply Rebecca Johnstone April 1, 2016 at 2:02 pm

      Thank you! I’m so glad I managed to keep the journal while I was away and will definitely try to do the same for other trips. There’s nothing like ‘in-the-moment’ notes and journaling to take you right back to the moment :)

  • Reply Emily May 6, 2016 at 3:57 am

    Sorry it’s taken me so long to pop back to your blog, lovely to read and see your journaling about New York. One day I’m going to get there.
    Emily recently posted…So Inspired : Get Messy Lists : 5My Profile

    • Reply daintydora May 6, 2016 at 8:27 am

      Thanks for reading lovely, you’re welcome here anytime :)

      Imagine a mega meet-up of our group – ANY of our creative groups – in New York one day….ah. Dreaming!

    Leave a Reply

    CommentLuv badge

    Back to top