self portrait. quick sketch with 3H pencil.
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one year of doing something creative, artistic, every single day, finished. (it's a leap year -- thus the extra day.)
a review is appropriate, though i don't know where to begin. so much has happened. i know where to end, though, so that's coming.
this whole thing began when my wife and i got back from our vacation in new mexico. i recorded a piano improvisation, and that led to two straight weeks of music recordings. (most of those tracks would turn into my first album, Ghost i/o.) during the first week, i realized that i could continue making little bits of art, one thing every day. and so . . . i added it to my daily routine.
over the last several years, i've come to be a very all-or-nothing person. i either go in strong, or i don't go at all. there's little room for leeway. this is a blessing and a detriment at times, but it's how i tackled this project. with this constant internal pressure, i set out to create a variety of things.
i knew that i wanted to make a lot of different kinds of art. primarily music -- i still wish i'd made more tunes -- but also painting, drawing, videos, poetry, writing, coding...anything and everything.
i tended to focus on creating a finished product. other folks who've done a one-a-day have learned about process over results, but that's a lesson that i never took to heart. i threw everything i could into getting something finished by midnight, if only so that i would have an interesting project to document. again, pressure. self-imposed.
i haven't done exact counts, nor examined finished vs. incomplete pieces, but i did something like 100+ songs, 12 videos, 3 albums, 2 poems, 1 short story, and 280+ pieces of visual art. clearly, my numbers are off, since that doesn't add up to the 366 actual days of work, but still. i'm surprised by just how much i did, whether traditional art or something a bit exotic, like coding or website design.
each album. the process behind creating and performing bit rain. skytower. hyperfine. too many to list.
not everything i made was good art. often, if i was pressed for time, i'd just take a picture in the afternoon and work on it that evening, transforming, altering, and mangling it. not always; sometimes there were technical difficulties that necessitated abandoning original plans. often there were software glitches when i was trying to write, record, and upload music or videos.
overall, i'm not happy with the ratio of pieces that thrill me to pieces that make me wince. i could have done better. and yes, i was learning the whole time, about my own internal and external process and abilities/limitations, and about how to make certain kinds of art in the first place, but still. were i to do another year, i'd have to push myself more.
i wish i'd attempted more physically challenging projects. made stuff with my hands, whether out of clay, wood, metal, etc. mechanical projects. i lack the tools and the workspace for many of the things i thought of, so i had to settle for something else.
i shouldn't have just settled so much, shouldn't have made compromises for the sake of time. should have planned ahead more each day, maintained more iron self control and willpower to push through and make something amazing, each and every single time.
realistic? no. but it's what i should aim for.
i could do another year. i could continue making time for it, just as i've done for other daily activities in my life for the last several years. but i think i need more time to be creative.
don't get me wrong; some of the loveliest things that i still don't believe i made came together in just a couple of hours, maybe just one afternoon. but my process is not usually that rapid. i normally need more time, especially if it's in something that frustrates me, that i'm not good at...like using the computer to make music or videos.
i'll still do creative things. i still want to make music, look at the world through a camera lens, and smear chalk on the sidewalk. i feel that i'll do better without the constant pressure of a daily deadline. by taking more time, hopefully i can make better, more introspective art.
what i'd like to do is purchase more webspace or switch to a different hosting provider entirely, so that i can better document each day's output. livejournal is a confusing mess to navigate.
this long adventure, the knowledge that i really could begin, stick with it, and finish a solid year of doing something every single day, i owe to Jesus Christ. i know beyond the shadow of a doubt that whatever small talent i have, whether or not i made something good with it, comes from Him. i couldn't have begun those first few piano recordings, nor finished with the last few, without being lit up by the Holy Spirit. it's the truth, plain and simple. and in my daily reviews, i certainly saw my art fall as my physical health deteriorated, or i struggled in my walk with God. there were moments of pure joy, of knowing that i was doing exactly what i should be doing, which is taking a gift, sharing it with others, and giving God the credit for its beauty. and other moments when i realized that because of poor choices i'd been making in my life, i was trying to put things together purely from my own resources, which are finite and pitiful.
every good & perfect gift is from God. no question in my mind; i see it played out constantly in my life. and whatever talents i have...are not for me. not to be hidden, but to be used to bless someone else. if my motivation is not from love, the endeavor cannot succeed.
my wife melanie, for putting up with this effort every day, every night, for a whole year. even as it pushed around our schedules and was hard on both of us. i wish that i could re-do the year and make more time for her, and make it less about getting this thing done by midnight.
jared and charlie, for being inspirations to start one of these in the first place, after seeing your work. you were constantly supportive and challenging, even if you didn't know it. and to all the musicians, artists, photographers, and the like that i've crossed paths with, even if it was only online. i saw your work, and it resonated in some way with me: inspired me, challenged me, made me stop and think.
family and friends for your support. a word here, a comment there, even hitting the "like" and "share" buttons. these simple things that brought me joy in the midst of some dark times. helped me know that despite the pressure of putting this out into the endless void that is the internet, i was accomplishing something.
...and the Lord, for giving me the ability to create in the first place: to reflect His glory. to bring some kind of beauty to you.
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it's been an amazing experience. thanks for sticking around.