365 Days of Pez

R!ch Cihlar in Cleveland, Ohio is making 365 Days of Pez...

Why did you decide to do this project? I started this project based on influence from multiple sources.  I was introduced to the Skull-A-Day project, meanwhile commissioned to create custom Pez pieces for a collector, and positive critiques from other artists with earlier Pez pieces.  I'm not one to usually take on commissions; I feel that they are very stressful and overwhelming.  But I agreed to the commission and instead of making one piece I made 6 of the same image (in different variations).  I found the process fun and set out to do it for 30 days.  After 30 days, i said what the heck lets shoot for a year.  After 30 days I also noticed a lot of traffic and insights from friends and new admires on my social networks (facebook, twitter, and my blog).  Ifelt that i had an audience, minor as it may have been but an audience none the less.  I also work for Baldwin Wallace University (in the art dept) and felt i needed to assist in motivating our students in practice and outside work.

How has doing a yearlong/daily project affected your life? My project started with stenciling/spray painting my work on skateboards and i had a constant flow of free broken skateboards.  But with Cleveland weather getting colder, less "free" canvas' came in and my supply ran out or is running very thin.  I also paint outside in a garage.  Spray paint has a hard time drying and curing properly in colder weather.  So i moved my materials around.  I've done a few acrylic transfer pieces, contour drawings, and plan on implementing other supplies i haven't used up or used in a long time.  This project has really strengthens my color choices or pallets.  It's also made my hands and head work faster and more efficiently.   It's funny to think you also get some "credit" in art/gallery scene.  I have friends go, DUDE! i'm following you and you're work is really nice.  Or people i don't know come up to me and say "Hey, you're the Pez guy."  It's fun and reassuring that what you think is a good thing, is interpreted by others as a good thing.  I hope that i spawn other artists/people to try something new daily or for a set time.  I really have enjoyed my project, and i don't think i'll jump into another 365 project right away, but i will continue to create projects in time lines (perhaps a project in a weeks time) or 52 pieces in a year.  One specific thing i realized in my project was that the first few pieces i did i tried to limit my stencil use.  I only cut 5 stencils (or 5 colors to my piece).  After 250 days in i recut that same image and it had 12 stencils.  I really started to make the works more elaborate or challenging.  There's an ongoing feeling that you have to one up your past works, and in hindsight that's kind of the goal, right?  An artist wants to be more creative, a leader in their field, and wants to perpetuate the creative juices indefinitely.  The coolest/unusual thing  that has happend so far in my project is that i've been giving my works away or mailing them to celebrities.  I mailed 3 original pieces to one of my favorite artists/internationally known with a letter that basically said "thanks for what you do, you've inspired my work, and my techniques".  A month or two after i mailed him the work, he mailed me 3 works back.  It was hands down the coolest thing about this project.  

See all of R!ch's Pez HERE.

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