Julian's 365 Buddhas Follow-up

Julian Cook recently completed his 365 Buddhas project, creating one piece of Buddha themed piece of art for every day in 2015!

What are the biggest lessons/skills you learned from doing your project? I learned a great deal about adding discipline to my artistic life - being on the hook to come up with something every day pushed me to be more organized, more open to new techniques, and to better prioritize my days to make creative work a more important part of my life. Trying to use a different media or style daily exposed me to hundreds of new techniques that I would likely not have ever tried, like needlework and some painting and drawing methods. As my project was centered around depictions of the Buddha, I also ended up studying Buddhist art dating back to the time of the historic Buddha to learn about the diverse symbolism and aesthetic traditions. I learned a great deal about photographing my work for public consumption. And possibly most important, I learned the importance of having connections to other working artists, particularly my partner in crime throughout the year, Vickie Willis, who did daily writing and maintained the website with me.

In what ways did the project change your life? Sharing a piece of art daily pushed me to be less "precious" about my work and to let people in to my creative process in a way I never have before. Surviving sharing a few "duds", and realizing that the pieces I didn't much care for other people often liked a lot, increased my confidence tremendously – and of course coming across the finish line did wonders for my confidence! I can feel that confidence improving my work and pushing me to come up with better ideas with less concern about whether every item will be a "hit" or not.

I also embraced the social media aspect of sharing my work this year, a venue i had previously considered only suitable for birth and wedding announcements, identifying friends on the political fringe and food pictures. Through Facebook and Instagram I was able to connect with not only people i know, but also other artists and art admirers, especially during the month long CreativeSprints sponsored by Noah Scalin. Throughout the year I was pleased to hear about how people reacted to the work, often surprisingly.

Ultimately, 2015 was a difficult year for me personally and professionally at my "day job," and the daily creative work involved in this project was often the high point of the day. I learned that my creative work needs to be a non-negotiable part of my day, and that it pays off, every time.

Now what? I have a few requests to finish, and a few pieces that will likely take longer than a day to make, so the Buddhas certainly aren't done! I plan to switch focus to some longer term pieces, I am working on a "religious weaponry" series that I have high hopes for, along with rededicating myself to music making. And I'm finding myself awaiting the next CreativeSprint already

Read Julian's original 365 interview HERE

And see all of Julian's Buddhas HERE.

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