100 Days of Creative Play

In last week’s post I said I was passing on the 100 day project. But having seen so many really inspiring posts I’ve had a change of mind!  I thought, originally, it would be too much commitment. On top of everything else CVP was starting in February. But, having listened to the Art Juice podcast, and spoken (via Instagram) to other artists, I decided to take part.

Selection of my first 10 days

The 100 Day Project

I wasn’t aware of the background to this challenge. I assumed, like many others, it had started on Instagram as that is where you find millions of posts.  But apparently the project was the brain child of Michael Bierut, a graphic designer who started it back in 2007.  The challenge was originally a very personal one.  He bought a copy of the New York Times each day, picked an image and drew a picture of it. He did this for a full year – that’s a hell of a commitment! It started to gain some traction when he incorporated the challenge into his teachings at Yale. From there it was picked up by others and  moved onto Instagram. 

The idea behind it is really simple. You pick a project, you create each day, and you share the output with the hashtag #the100dayproject. 

The challenge normally takes place in April but due to lockdown, this year they kicked off 31st January.  Following the hashtag it is amazing to see the breadth of themes people have selected, everything from collage fodder; to colour studies to self portraits.  And it is a truly global art project with a sense of community as everyone is doing it together.

100 day challenge – mini sketches

Getting Started

I’m not new to the concept of art challenges. A couple of years ago I completed a 100 day challenge which, believe me, is a long time.  Anyone who followed my old sketching blog may remember I did mini portrait sketches. I’m really pleased I completed it, but this time I wanted something I that pushed me a bit more.

Selecting a theme is part of the challenge.  You need to balance having a theme that gives you structure, with the freedom and scope to push it.  So my theme for this year is 100 days of creative play.  A conversation on a podcast inspired me. 100 days is a pretty long period of time to work on a single theme. Given this, you should expect to get bored and frustrated. BUT, out of this,something magical can happen as the boredom forces creativity. 

My theme may be too vague but I’m hoping to break it down into chunks. How? Maybe have 10 days experimenting with collage. 20 days creating textures. Trying new mark making tools, etc.  Anything where I’m trying something I either haven’t tried before or haven’t much experience of.  On the podcast they talked about three motivations: to play, to practice and to produce. I’m definitely in the first two camps.  The important thing is it gives me an anchor and a commitment to create each day.

Importance of Sharing

I’m not sure I want to share images each day, especially as a lot won’t be particularly pretty.  In fact, if I do this well and really push myself to experiment, there should be some absolute failures. But I will share a selection of the outputs, ugly or not each week! 

Knowing I need to photograph and share will make sure I document my progress. It will also help me keep track of what I’ve learned.  But knowing I need to share also gives me a structure , so that I commit.  Apparently, those taking part created some form of end product. A book, a show, a portfolio – a way of showcasing your endeavors and achievements. I’m not sure I’ll end up with that but I do want to keep a record of progress.

Progress So Far

Because I wasn’t intending to take part I started a little bit late. I haven’t spent much time thinking about how to fit this practice into my day. I needed to start out with a very quick playful exercise I know I have time for each day. Although I was worried I wouldn’t enjoy the first few days the need for speed has been positive.

For the first 10 days I decided to create mini pieces created from recycled materials. I had to create each piece without really thinking. Going with my gut with a few tears, gluing and slapping on paint. This was different for me. Much faster compared to my normal style of building my work up over time with lots of layers,

It turned out to be harder than I expected but I think it has helped free me up. It has inspired my next 10 days where I’ll move the idea of quick and unthinking into some sketchbook pieces.

2 responses to “100 Days of Creative Play”

  1. Brilliant work Nicola! I toyed with the idea of tackling the challenge, but started a new job in December that has left me without the mental bandwidth to commit. I’m still regularly playing with paint and stitch, however. So glad you changed your mind–I’ll live vicariously through your progress!

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