The Sketchblog of Irma Kniivila

I was going to start a secondary travel blog but what the hey. Most of what I’m posting is drawings anyway.

I’m in the middle of three months of travel through Asia - what started as an excuse to visit Charles in Singapore while he studies for a year evolved into something slightly bigger.

When he was on break we spent 9 days in Yogyakarta and Bali, and while we had an amazing time I was left with some mixed feelings on tourism.

When I travel I prefer to quietly observe life as it happens. In Singapore, it’s easy to watch a world that’s content to ignore you go about it’s business. But when you are the business, it becomes a little harder.

To be in a place like Bali where tourism is the most obvious driver of the economy is a somewhat jarring experience.- seeing entire areas merge into endless souvenir and tour shops selling the exact same things and constantly being hassled to buy. The worst by far was the south (all of the above plus droves of drunk Australians), but the reaches of tourism were apparent almost everywhere we went.

The photos from above are from the east coast of Bali, where it was much quieter and less developed. Charles and I rented a scooter and just tooled around with no real destination in mind. It was by far my favourite day - but I can’t help but think that it was a relative lack of tourists that made it possible. At the same time, It’s incredibly selfish to want a place to remain “undiscovered”, if tourism money helps relieve poverty in an area.

Looking back at my drawings and photos from Indonesia, I’m realizing that I have a tendency to entirely ignore that which I find unpleasant - the reality of dirt, chaos and unkind things. Happiness on the page, sadness on the brain.

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about struggling to achieve growth while maintaining balance - in life, work, industry, culture.

(Maybe a little too much…I could probably stand to think a little less, and draw a little more.)

I originally did these a long time ago for one of Garrison Creek Bat Co.’s shows but decided that I was probably the only person in the world who would find these funny. I found the original drawings yesterday and still giggled, so you decide, internet.

(I have nothing but bitter memories of being terrible at baseball as a child.)

I spent some time drawing with Tessar Lo yesterday and even though I didn’t mean to be so directly influenced by the shapes and colours in his space, here we are. Which makes me realize…I need to get out of the house and absorb more.

Tessar is running an upcoming conceptual process workshop - I can guarantee you will go places you didn’t intend to go (in the best way possible).