Monday, January 21, 2019

Daily art 2018: post mortem 1

I always like to evaluate my art projects when they're finished, in part so I can figure out what to do and what not to do again.  And I think on balance my 2018 daily map project was a disappointment. 

At this time last year I thought it would be exciting to have a theme instead of a format, so one day I might draw a map, another day I might use a map in collage, a third day I might make a little book.  I would achieve my structure and documentation by writing down each day's map in a calendar book.  As it turned out, I found this approach unsatisfying. 

As was confirmed in spades as I got ready for my solo show last fall, I like being able to go through my old daily projects, with everything in one place and on display.  I like to see and feel the accumulation of day after day's art in a box or bag.  I like being able to find what I did on Valentine's Day or on my birthday or on Thanksgiving and put my hand on it. 

But last year that didn't happen.  Many things ended up filed in a big portfolio; small, lightweight 3-D work went into a file box; big heavy 3-D work got put somewhere among my finished artwork storage.  A few things are currently MIA.  This all makes me nervous. 

As I spent the better part of the end of December organizing and documenting all my maps from 2018, I mentally kicked myself a lot.  I was happy with daily pieces that fit into series, like my "I've been there" collages.  But I was happiest with the many "I've been there"s that were all on the same size card, less happy with the ones in different sizes or in different formats. 

I like this one
People who have visited my studio may laugh to hear me say that I crave organization and structure, but just because your studio is a world-class rat's nest doesn't mean your daily art shouldn't be neat and tidy.  Maybe that's one of the things I love about daily art: it can be perfectly organized and managed, even though I have a hard time achieving that in the rest of my life activities.

I actually anticipated that the way I defined the 2018 daily art project might be a problem.  My blog post from January 1, 2018:  When I started thinking about my next daily art project, in October and November, I was a bit apprehensive about this approach.  Was it too loosely defined?  Would I be afraid to work without the net of the strict format?  Fortunately, the minute I heard myself think that last question, I realized that was the dumbest thing I had thought in a long time.  If at this point in my artistic career I couldn't work without a net, I didn't deserve to call myself an artist.

Well, I was right to be apprehensive.  I wasn't afraid to work without the net, but as it turned out I didn't get as much satisfaction as I expect from a daily art project.  I like working within a strict format, at least in this context!  So for 2019 I'm back to rules.  Lesson learned.

I'll write more about my problems with the daily map project in another post.  Meanwhile, you can check out all my daily art here.

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