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A day out with Vincent Van Gogh

I finally got to do it! I got to go into Chicago and immerse myself in Van Gogh's Immersive art exhibit. I didn't really have a good idea what that really entailed but since he has been an artist I have loved for as long as I could remember I really didn't want to miss it. I told Dan about it and he got me VIP tickets for Christmas, that meant waiting almost 2 months to actually enjoy it. Then the night before as has been normal this winter it snowed a lot of inches. Roads were bad so I made sure to leave as early as I could to make sure that I didn't miss my time. Turns out that was not necessary as I arrived 1.5 hours early, oh well, its not every day that I have a day without responsibilities or children running around me. There was a coffee shop right next door and that was convenient enough for me. I sat and drank coffee, watched union workers post up the inflatable rat on the corner of the street(a sign that someone near by was not being union friendly), and caught up on my phase 10 phone game. I was counting down the minutes till I could go in. At 20 minutes before my time I walked the 40 feet to the exhibit and went through security, and then showed my ticket. They saw I was VIP and literally whisked me away to do a tour of the facility, give me my VIP goodie bag, and show me the VIP lounges I could take advantage of. Once that tour was done they showed me to the exhibit, which after a walk through was 4 rooms, 2 larger, 2 smaller all showing the same footage on the wall, and the floors, there were clearly marked circles for people to stand, sit, lay down in while keeping their distance and enjoying the show. I walked through all the rooms and settled in the biggest room a ball room size area and sat down to watch, it was in the middle of the show so I just kind of absorbed the moment. I took pictures because his Iris' s popped up and I wanted to show my mom. Then the Starry Night started, this was my first introduction to Van Gogh, there is something peaceful and magical about that painting, something that settles my mind watching the flow of the colors and the moon. To see it come to life as they made it do in the exhibit was breathtaking, was spectacular, was beyond what I expected.

I knew I wanted to write a blog about my day but I also knew I would do almost no justice to what I got to see, besides the art, I got to people watch, I got to watch children dance along to the music and seem to flow with the movement of the art on the wall, I got to see a young couple just giddy and showing just as much astonishment and excitement as I felt when I first walked in, and an elderly couple helping each other with their iPhones to take videos to watch later, I love being apart of something that allows me to see the peaceful side of the world. Allows me to remember that people love the simple and the beautiful things in life, not the chaos, and anger that seems to always take over. As for the art, what Massimiliano Siccardi and Luca Longobardi conceived and designed is nothing short of fantastic, and powerful. Van Gogh had painted something around 900 paintings between 1881-1890 and of course not all of them were amazing and not all of them were known as Van Gogh's but they were able to take his works, not just the most popular ones but the works that defined him and show them to the fans who want to experience it. I will say I feel more connected to Vincent Van Gogh because of a couple things that pull me to his art, perceived personality, and life story. Including the fact that one of my favorite recording artists is Josh Groban a classical singer who started more with foreign language songs, with the exception of a song titled "Vincent (starry starry night)" In fact that song was playing in my head while I was originally taking in the show, the song is about what type of man Van Gogh was and what pain he was in, and that most people didn't recognize it till it was to late. Also and this one is for you Dr Who nerds out there (Allons-y!) My favorite episode is the Van Gogh episode (season 5, episode 10, of the new Drs), ****SPOILER ALERT**** At the end of the show Dr Who was able to show Vincent how many people look to him as an amazing artist taken to soon, that his art lives on and he is respected. Van Gogh seems to always appear in my life in small ways but when he does it makes me think more, and ponder what kind of art he could have put out if he had continued his life instead of cutting it so short. No one living now will ever know what it was like to live like he lived, and live how he lived but that's what his art does, it makes you feel like he is explaining to you himself, while allowing you to get to know yourself as well. One of my favorite lyrics from the Josh Groban song is "Now I understand what you tried to say to me and how you suffered for your sanity and how you tried to set them free. They would not listen they did not know how, perhaps they'll listen now" It is a shining example of mental health throughout the worlds history. As well as that fun old adage that artists are worth more after death. These are ALL thoughts I had while I was watching the show, this is how my brain works, and its also why I got emotional watching the ending where the lights flicker out way to soon on Vincent Van Gogh.

While I was getting my VIP tour my guide mentioned I could stay up to 5 hours and although that would have been amazing I also knew I had a long drive home, and kids at home that needed attention. BUT I did allow myself to stay long enough to enjoy the full show in every room in the exhibit. The large rooms allowed you to enjoy the larger picture, the smaller rooms were less crowded and also allowed you to take in the detail that you can some times miss. The music in all the rooms was at times overwhelming and loud, it was part of the show, but I immediately searched for a soundtrack because the music worked so perfectly with the art and it was beautiful, I found a playlist on Spotify that I believe is very close so Ill keep it and use it to remind myself of my day. I spent a total of 2.5 hours immersed in Van Gogh, truly only taking a few (for me) videos and pictures and allowing myself to 100% enjoy the moment and enjoy the day. At one point I texted my Uncle David and asked if he remembered taking me to a Van Gogh exhibit when I was younger because that's what started me on this path and that I was so grateful to him for it, he said he didn't remember (which isn't super surprising) but I am glad I have that memory, I am glad I had that moment with him.

I am again so grateful to Dan for getting me the tickets and the going above and beyond and getting the VIP. I don't do many things myself (shocker, I know) I try to enjoy the moments that I am given and I believe that yesterday I enjoyed every moment, I had the best time, I allowed myself extra time and didn't rush through, I walked around, pondered, and people watched. The day was amazing and I don't even feel guilty about having an amazing day without any of my family with me! I won't forget yesterday, but I also can't wait to go again, or to see his actual work again.

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