Art-Food-Wine-365 Follow-up

Katerina AKA Plateresca in Madrid, Spain spend every day of 2015 creating her Art-Food-Wine-365 project...

What are the biggest lessons/skills you learned from doing your project? 2015 was a difficult year for me. I finally had to accept the changes I had been trying to ignore for a long time, and that was painful. In those difficult circumstances, I managed to do two things on a daily basis: draw and write. This made me realize these two activities were not just something I did for fun, but rather something that I needed to do constantly. This has influenced my life and work decisions a lot, so, in a way, my own blog became my compass.

The other lesson I’ve learnt from creating this blog is that minor things matter. When I had seemingly absolutely nothing to write about, I could find something beautiful and art-food-wine-related in my own apartment or in my neighbourhood in less than an hour. It made me think a lot about how beautiful my life is, and enjoy it more, even when my worries made it difficult.

In what ways did the project change your life? As much as I tried not to write about myself, my personality was present in every post, and at some point I couldn’t hide it from myself anymore that I was a) making art, b) gaining my main income with it, i. e., that I finally became what I had dreaded so much becoming: an artist. I had spent years shying away from this idea, but when the results of what I did lined up in a series of daily posts, it was impossible to keep ignoring them. The impact of this is huge; and, well, I do hope that the following years will prove that this was a good thing.

Now what?  I hope to be able to keep my drawing daily, but I’d like to be quieter about what I do, showing only the best images, recipes and texts once in a while. And I definitely will do my best to keep enjoying Madrid, and sharing its special atmosphere with my readers. 

Read Katerina's original 365 interview HERE.
See all of Katerina's project HERE


Vickie's 365 Buddhas Follow-up

Vickie Willis recently completed her 365 Buddhas project, creating a poem every day in 2015! 

What are the biggest lessons/skills you learned from doing your project? I learned to relax. To let go. To make "mistakes" and get over it. My project even morphed quite a bit while I was doing it. I started with a lot of random poems and free verse, then I started experimenting with different poetic forms, and then I ended up writing lots of short forms, specifically haikus and tankas, and then enhancing them with color and abstract textures. Posting each day and putting each poem out into the world was a tremendous thing. People saw it, and even if the poem sucked, the world didn't end, and no one threw tomatoes at me. And I had the next day to write another one. I learned consistency and patterns, not just in writing haikus, but in writing in general. Doing something every day changes the stakes somehow. The more full pages you have, the less power the blank page has to paralyze you. To paraphrase Rainbow Rowell, the more words you stack up, the cheaper they become. Shockingly, people would come up and talk to me about my poems, people at my gym, people at my 20th high school reunion, and I had no idea that so many people were actually reading them. People even have asked to use my poems for other projects of their own! That kind of encouragement and support has been invaluable!!

In what ways did the project change your life? I ran a half marathon last November and that same month I finished my first NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). Now, these things may not seem terribly related at first. But, as it turns out, running, and running longer distances, is exactly like a 365 project. You have to do a little bit each week, and eventually, you just start to increase your distance. Before I knew it, boom! I ran 13 miles. As I was finishing up my half marathon training, and the year, NaNoWriMo approached. November is National Novel Writing Month, and the challenge is to write a 50,000 word novel during the month of November. I've tried for the past two years to do it, and I couldn't get it all done. This year, I did. I think that the habit of writing a poem every day made running every week and writing a NaNo novel so much easier. After having written nearly 300 poems by that point, a novel didn't seem insurmountable anymore. Thirteen miles seemed totally reasonable. I have a PhD in English, so I get setting and achieving goals--that's never been a problem for me. But having a DAILY practice is different. And having a partner, the king of kickassery, Julian Cook, was crucial for me in keeping that daily practice going, in being accountable every single day for creating something and creating the habit of creating. The habit of creating, and of sharing that creativity, is a daily discipline that, much like running, permeates the rest of my life now.

Now what? Now I've started another 365–technically 366–project. It's the Leap Year Photo Challenge. My friend (and the wife of my father's cousin), Debbi McNeer, is the brainchild behind this one. She was looking for a good photo challenge for 2016, and ended up asking me if I wanted to write the prompts for one. So I did. After studying many photo challenges, I came up with a list that's more evocative and impressionistic than many of the challenges out there. Our challenge has quotes, foreign words, abstract ideas, photo techniques, parts of speech, you know name it. And October is almost entirely an homage to Buffy the Vampire Slayer. If you've never watched, you could still participate (but you should remedy that very sad fact immediately). Since I'm going to be revising my NaNoWriMo this year into something that I could possibly publish, I wanted to do a different medium, and I'm a little photo-happy anyway.

Read Vickie's original 365 interview HERE.

See all of Vickie's poems HERE.

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.

At Home with the Super Neumanns

Danny Neumann in Phoenix, Arizona is in the midst of the yearlong photography project: At Home with the Super Neumanns...

Why did you decide to do this project?  I'm an adult who refuses to quit playing with toys. My action figure collecting hobby eventually spawned a sub-hobby: photographing my figures doing everyday things. Its a creative outlet I find very rewarding and I was looking for a way to keep more consistent.

How has doing a yearlong/daily project affected your life? As I write this I am three months in. One one hand, this is an accomplishment in itself. On the other, it really only represents a good start! I have had to let go the concerns about how much the project is costing. It turns out miniature dollhouse type accessories are not cheap! Although the project is quite time consuming, it has been a fun experience for my whole family. We often talk and laugh about ideas for future shots. And I love hearing my six year old stepson crack up when I show him a new photo.

I often find when setting up my shots that I get close to recapturing the very unique-to-childhood creative mindspace. That elusive experience where you are transported out of reality and into the world being occupied by the toys themselves. I didn't think adults could re-achieve that imaginative world but I have been drifting in and out of it the more time I spend in the Super Neumann's environment.

See all of Danny's photos HERE.

A Year in the Trees: Follow-up

Alycia Helbling spent 2015 creating a A Year in the Trees ... 

What are the biggest lessons/skills you learned from doing your project? My patterns of motivation and creativity became more clear to me this year as I continued through this project. I proved to myself that I could not only finish this project, but prioritize creativity in my life even though I have many other life events, obligations, responsibilities and joys. I also learned that I had some shame around any type of behavior that spoke to a "look at me! look at me" approach. Somewhere along the way I learned that it wasn't okay to look for or enjoy external validation. Through this project I have slid outside my comfort zone and requested more attention on my creativity, and have been rewarded for doing so. In so doing, I am trying to nurture my desire for recognition while balancing my artistic intuition when creating.

In what ways did the project change your life? It has, in a sense, rooted me more deeply in my own experiences of the world. I have struggled with keeping my own sense of reality and integrity in the past. As I grow as a professional and personally, I am seeing a stronger and stronger need for grounding and trusting my own wisdom while balancing the integration of new information. Art reminds me that my perspective is valid, real and beautiful. Art reminds me to look around and continually learn and grow. Art reminds me that there is value in beauty and reflection. I am grateful for my investment in art this year.

Now what? Having proved to myself that I can commit and follow through on creative goals, I plan to craft a goal around making and selling some of my work this year. I am upping my adult-ing level and trying to make some big financial changes, so I am thinking of ways that my art can support that - through using more recycled materials, bartering, selling art, and increasing my feelings of well-being to supplement my health! Also, I would like to send more hand-made things to friends and family throughout the year this year. I want to remind them that I celebrate them and am grateful for the relationships in my life.

Read her original 365 interview HERE.

And see all of her trees HERE