I recently completed a 100 day art challenge over on Instagram. I had seen other people's 100 day challenges and having benefitted immensely from taking part in monthly art challenges on Twitter I wondered if this might be the next logical step.
Anyone who has taken part in a monthly art challenge knows that the main obstacle to overcome is their own inertia & inner critic - you really do have to commit to showing up and also sharing what you've produced no matter how awful you might think it is. The latter is really valuable because we can learn a lot from others, you might think something is dire but it may surprise you to find that other people will actually like what you've dismissed.
Another benefit is that specific daily practice is helpful for honing your style. Now, it's widely accepted that we shouldn't obsess over style as it will evolve naturally over time but most artists do worry about this at one time or another. It's very difficult to take a step back from your work and see it as others do, if we could we'd probably see that we do in fact have a discernible style that other people recognise.
I've found that following a particular theme/self-imposed constraint over a set period of time can help us see in our work what everyone else can already see which is always useful when thinking about future directions.
As a mixed media artist who is also passionate about print, texture, and pattern I wanted to find a way to draw all of these elements together in my work so after years of monthly art challenges set by other people I felt like the next step would be a 100 day art challenge with a theme that was tailored to me.
I love collage and whilst I do use some pieces of found vintage papers and lettering in my work on the whole I prefer the majority of the collage to be my own work, whether that be old pieces of work re-purposed ( waste not want not!) cut up hand pulled prints ( screen, mono, lino etc) or pieces of pattern I've designed & printed myself. With this in mind pattern and collage seemed like two of the strongest elements and that's what I chose to go with.
I was also still taking part in other art challenges like #Printoctober, #PortraitNovember & #StillDecember over on Twitter as well as #Inktober & #CarveDecember on Instagram so the challenge was to combine these elements into a piece each day ( I would never have had time to create separate pieces for each) whilst always making sure that every single one had a pattern and collage element.
A great way to stretch you creatively, I'm a firm believer in challenging yourself - we only see real growth and improvement when we step outside of our comfort zone.
Aside from the monthly challenges I'm still taking part in what's next after a 100 day challenge? 365 days?
Hmmm...watch this space.