Sydielim Chong: Art Service 2021

Mette Tommerup: Preparing for the Next Project.

STUDENT BIO

Picture of Sydielim Chong taken by Jennifer Escalona. (CC by 4.0)

Sydielim Chong is a passionate 19-year-old student at Florida International University. Sydielim is on a pre-law track majoring in criminal justice while also applying a minor in statistics. Sydielim is a full-time tutor for Bright and Brainy Tutoring and also currently interns for Caserta and Spiriti Law Group. Sydielim also enjoys watching movies, especially thrillers, and loves going out on adventures in hopes of exploring new things all over the world. As a part of Art Society Conflict, she hopes to learn more of the valuable history behind Miami and the artistic culture rooted in the city.

WHO

Mette Tommerup

Picture of Mette Tommerup taken by Sydielim Chong of FIU. (CC by 4.0)

I chose to volunteer with Miami-based artist Mette Tommerup. Mette Tommerup was also the artist I interviewed and upon speaking with her for the couple of hours I did, I instantly felt a connection with her. I wanted to do something for her and with her.

Mette Tommerup was born in Denmark in 1969 and is an artist who uses both significant and critical perspectives to portray her interactive and handcrafted pieces. Tommerup’s artwork has been in many public and private collections, including The Bass, The Perez Art Museum Miami (PAMM), and The FIU Frost Museum of Art. Mrs. Tommerup has a bachelors and a masters of fine arts and, from a very young age, has known she had a connection with art and wanted to pursue a career in the field.

WHY

I selected this opportunity when I was coordinating with Mrs. Tommerup to meet up for our interview that I had asked her to do for another project when I first met her, at one of her exhibitions at the Locust Projects, and she had mentioned that she needed some help with a couple of things around her studio in preparation for her next big project. Truthfully, I had not found anyone or anywhere to volunteer with/at and when Mrs. Tommerup told me about this opportunity, I was just happy that I would be able to complete my semester project. However, it was once I met with Mrs. Tommerup for the interview, that we had a long conversation about so many things. We talked about her childhood, her life as an artist, what inspired her, some of her art, COVID-19 and how it has affected both of our lives, and she even had questions for me. It was at this point that I became so excited to help her and to work with her because when I spoke to her it wasn’t just a question-answer conversation. We genuinely had a good time talking together and even bonded over some coffee from Starbucks.  

HOW

I came across this opportunity in a very random and unexpected way. When my class took a trip to the Locust Projects to view her exhibit “Made by Dusk”, I absolutely fell in love with her work and I decided to interview her for one of my semester projects. Once we set up the interview, she mentioned needing some help with some things around her studio and I jumped at the opportunity since at this point, I had not found anyone or any place to volunteer with for the completion of this project. Once I actually met with her and had a conversation with her, I realized how truly amazing she is, and I became genuinely excited to work with her and help her out.

WHERE & WHAT

April 7th, 2021

Today, I actually went to Mette Tommerup’s studio for the first time. This was the day in which I interviewed her for my other semester project. I was with her for about an hour and a half just doing the interview and then about another hour and a half while she was explaining to me what she has in the works and how I can be of help to her within the next couple of days.

Picture of artist, Mette Tommerup, in her studio posing in front of one of the pieces from her exhibit “Made by Dusk” taken by Sydielim Chong of FIU on April 7th, 2021.

April 8th, 2021

On this day, I came into the studio for about two hours. Mette had told me she needed some help covering up some canvasses and that’s what I did. It wasn’t too much, and we had a great time anyway. We talked some more about what she is working on while covering up canvasses.

April 9th, 2021

Today, Mette and I met up at her studio again. She needed some help cleaning up the studio and preparing all the materials for her next project, so we worked for a bit on that and then went for coffee together.

April 10th, 2021

Today was a more productive day as Mette and I finished cleaning up the studio and setting up the materials. Mette was able to start brainstorming as to what she wanted to do. It was a really fun experience being able to work with her and seeing where she gets her ideas from and how she uses them to make something out of it.

April 11th, 2021

Today was the last day I met with Mette Tommerup. It was a great experience, but I have to say this day was the saddest because I genuinely enjoyed working with her and helping her. She and I got along great and I will definitely miss her. I let her know that if she ever needs anything that. She can always call me, and I’d be there.

WHEN

SUMMARY

My experience working with Mette Tommerup was beyond any of my expectations. Mrs. Tommerup was always genuine, kind, and willing to help and teach me things when I didn’t know them. From the first time I met her and saw her artwork I assumed she was a spectacular person and now I can confirm it as well. She is truly an amazing artist and I applaud her for everything she does. While working with Mrs. Tommerup, I realized first-hand the work and dedication it really takes to be a successful artist, a recognized one, at that. The couple of days I spent working with her and helping her are some of the days I will always look back to and cherish. Although the work we did and the things I helped her with weren’t much, what I truly got out of the experience was better. I got to meet and truly get to know an amazing artist, her backstory, and see all the work and heart she puts into her work. This was truly an experience I will never forget.

Author: Syd

Hi class! My name is Sydielim (Syd for short) and I’m currently a sophomore studying criminal justice and statistics. I hope I get to know all of you a bit better through the semester!

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