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The Jaunt

Adrian Kay Wong - Coast Starlight Train (Night)


Silkscreen print, edition of 50, signed and numbered by artist, unframed

Destination: The Coast Starlight Train

Date: 12-16 May, 2023

Jaunt #094

27.5"h x 19.75"w

"As many of my friends would attest, my imagination and vocal excitement for future events is pretty...uninspiring. To be completely honest, before leaving on this trip I was preoccupied with logistics and being OCD about everything lining up correctly and going smoothly. Mostly, I was just looking forward to the new experience: I've never taken an extended train ride like this before so I tried my best just to be present in the moment and be observant to the events that would inevitably unfold before me -- no matter how grand or mundane. 

On the train there was a designated car that had basically floor to ceiling windows down the entire length. It was meditative in many ways to observe the gradient of cities dissipating and rural expanses appear. To catch moments of city life as well as uninterrupted or disturbed nature felt like a quiet story unfolding before me, like a little secret that is confided to only those who take the time to sit and look. I think what surprised me the most was the general atmosphere and demeanor of passengers. We can forget how normalized the efficiency of flying is. Thinking about it, who's ever told you about their great time at the airport or on the plane? It's a Bingo game every time -- take your pick: crying baby, armrest hogger, frantic sprint to make a connecting flight, unabashed coughers and sneezers, and the people who stand up in the aisle the moment the plane stops. Within the first 10 minutes of taking my seat on the train, there were conversations between strangers of where they're going, what they do, talks of family and seeing friends.The impression I had was that the tension and anxiety one often feels when flying was relatively absent in the train. That physical and mental claustrophobia was replaced by a general casualness. 

Even though the trip afforded me several stops all along the Pacific West Coast, it felt like it'd be inaccurate to pull imagery for the artwork from just one city. While the final stop was Vancouver, that's just where my ride ended. Reminding myself that I spent essentially half of my time on a train, I returned to my first day sitting in the viewing car and just watching the scenery change. It was a calmness that I don't often afford myself. But with book in hand and headphones on, that stillness was captivating." 

-Adrian Kay Wong