Common Time

by Rachelle Meyer


After I moved to Amsterdam Noord, I started sketching fellow passengers during my twelve-minute ferry ride to the center in the mornings. I’d finish the pencil sketches off with fineliner pens and marker over a cup of coffee once I got to my studio. Between January and May 2017 the tiny sketchbook filled up with images. When I flipped back through it, I discovered that it not only told a story of how people spend their time during the quiet ferry ride, but how the seasons change. I wanted to find a way to express these overlaps of time.

Dedicated Reader #4 (autumn collection)

Like any good pattern-seeking animal, I make sense of things by putting them in order. It sets a rhythm to a world which is otherwise chaotic. I came up with a visual system for expressing these overlapping currents of time, which flow in and out of each other like the waves that gently rock the ferry.

I am (autumn collection)

Since our year is divided into four seasons, I chose four images for each season from the two tiny sketchbooks. Each season has its own unique four-color palette, with one color that carries through to the next. Thus, a streak of orange tethers the fall to winter. The baby blues of winter float into spring. The warm gold from spring brightens up into the summer. And the almost shocking fluorescent yellow of summer creates a vivid autumnal mix.

Let’s start here, in autumn, my favorite season. We’re situated not only in real time, but common time. A four-four beat, the most workaday musical signature, will set the pace for our journey. Are you ready? The ferry’s just about to take off.


Buiten Dienst (sketch 20 Oct. 2018)

Rachelle Meyer is an illustrator and artist originally from Texas who came to Amsterdam 13 years ago by way of New York. She lives in Amsterdam Noord with her English husband, Dutch son, and two wild backyard bunnies.

 The Faces on the Ferry installation can be seen through Nov. 17th in NDSM Fuse, NDSM-plein 85, Amsterdam Noord.

Hush (sketch 3 Sept. 2018)