As part of my commitment to do something creative every day, I decided to Google to see if other people have done this and documented it on the internet. Of course the answer is yes, yes, they have. Some of the things people have committed to and chronicled on the internet are weird (in the best possible way). Some are amazing. Some are awe–inspiring. Some are adorable. Some are just plain old cool. And all of them are creative. And the more I looked, the more there seemed to be one guy who was leading the charge:
Noah Scanlin is a Richmond, Virginia based artist & designer. He is the creator of the Webby Award winning art project Skull-A-Day which was the basis of his first book, Skulls. Noah’s art has been exhibited in museums and galleries internationally including the Mütter Museum in Philadelphia and the International Museum of Surgical Science in Chicago. Noah runs the socially conscious design & consulting firm Another Limited Rebellion, which he founded in 2001 and is also an adjunct faculty member at Virginia Commonwealth University. Noah frequently lectures on creativity for schools, businesses, and other organizations.
This is the blurb about Noah from the website for his books, Get Unstuck and Make Something 365. I bought both of them as inspiration–I figure it never hurts to have ideas and the thing I like about Noah’s ideas is that they are fairly general prompts, not specific projects. And, while Noah advocates the daily approach and offers up several suggestions for rules, he makes the point of saying that you should define the challenge for yourself.
One of Noah’s suggestions is to let go of preciousness. Which you kind of have to do in order to create something every single day. And I have a hard time with that one. I’m a bit of a perfectionist. I want everything to be “good,” which I absolutely need to get over and realize is totally useless. But reading about some of these projects that other people have done, they talk about spending anywhere from 30 seconds to several hours each day creating something. My concern is that most days I don’t have several hours to devote to it and I’d rather not produce a bunch of stuff that I don’t really like–I’d also like to take the time to employ art forms I like or am learning, which will likely take longer than a few minutes. And I think it’s probably better to adjust my expectations for output instead of waiting until I have more time because that might never happen.
So I decided I had better just start something…
And then I spent almost a week thinking, BUT WHAT?
Then I read the first prompt in Noah’s 365 book, which is to start small by creating something that will fit in the palm of your hand with only the materials in your immediate surroundings. And, as I said, I think what’s interesting about these prompts is the potential for interpretation. So here is project number one:
It is quite literally the size of my hand. I traced my hand on ivory cardstock and found an illustration of the skeletal structure of the hand (consider that my shout-out to Noah’s skulls), which I then embroidered on the cardstock in bright colours. I really like embroidery on paper–there are a few tricks to it and I’ve gotten better at it over time, but it always takes longer than I think it should…meaning that finishing this in a day would’ve taken me all day. And I do still have to go to work.
Plus, I did say I would do something creative every day, not that I would do a different creative thing every day.
Life lesson, my friends: there is always a loop hole.