A Conversation With An Everyday Explorer
“I just tried to follow pink in my life on yesterday,” explained Finnish artist Meiju Niskala last Wednesday. Tuesday, my pink pashmina, visible from outside our Foley Square fishbowl of a StoryBooth, beckoned Niskala inside from the cold to make an appointment.
Her intended conversation partner unavailable, Niskala arrived for her appointment alone granting me the opportunity to find out more about a woman who described herself on our participant data sheet as an “everyday explorer…who tries to be actively lost.”
The former Berklee College of Music saxophone student has spent the past decade expressing her creativity in uncommon fashion. A writer, amateur tap dancer and collector of photo booth pictures and four leaf clovers, Niskala described herself as a particularly curious and amiable child albeit lonely.
“I am just sad because I’m feeling that there is no one else who can share the same history as me,” she confessed. A passionate person who sees no boundaries between life and art, Niskala eventually found love through one of her explorations.
“When I was looking for the love of my life, I was setting up Post-it notes in quite many places. It all started in this way. I was in the library…It’s not interactive at all and I’m feeling that the main reason to be alive is to be interactive with things. So I started to place Post-it notes inside the books, just like saying ‘Hi’ and ‘I thought that this book’s most meaningful sentence in on page 57, chapter 3, line 5. If you feel that way as well, let me know. This is my address and my phone number.'”
Eventually, Niskala left Post-it notes in the most romantic books she could find authored by Georges Perec and Jonathan Safran Foer among others. She met a number of people along the way including her librarian boyfriend.
As our conversation reached its end, Niskala shared some tips for original living through incorporating art into one’s every day life. New York straphangers, pay heed.
“If you have a 30 minute long ride between your work and home, just put an empty paper on your hand, take a pen or lipstick or whatever which creates color and just point it on the paper and then let the shake of the train make the forms . Do that everyday in a year and then compare what happens. Could you see which are the Fridays?”
So there is your homework for 2009. Mass transit commuters in Gotham and beyond can take part. You’ll have to stow your iPod in your pocket to free your hands but you can keep your earbuds in. Happy drawing!
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