The creative process as an elusive elixir of life is without doubt an enticing vision.
We can imagine the lone artist perched at the window seat of a quaint cottage overlooking a lake of swans with a quill at the ready… And yet, romantic notions like this are also far removed from our day-to-day realities of doctors’ appointments, cross-town commutes and grocery shopping.
I’ve often struggled with this division between the creative and the ordinary. Thankfully I’m not the only one. From talks by Brian Eno to Austin Kleon’s Steal Like an Artist, there’s been a wealth of conversation and literature in recent years that explore how we can “unglamourise” creativity so as to make it more accessible and useful.
One venture that tackles this head on is the 100 Days Project, a community art initiative led by New Zealand-based designer Emma Rogan. Originally devised by design-educator Michael Bierut as an assignment for his students at Yale, the parameters involve choosing one creative exercise and executing it every day for 100 consecutive days. It’s all about routine and action, allowing students to push the limits of their perception and hone their craft without waiting around for inspiration or getting stuck on perfectionism.
Driven by a desire to form a creative community in New Zealand, Emma Rogan decided to take the project beyond the realms of the classroom and invited people of all ages and walks of life to participate. Now in its fourth year, the initiative has blossomed into a movement with over 1000 participants, regular meet-ups and group exhibitions in four cities around the world.
The 100 Days Project website hosts all of the projects in one place and it’s easy to get lost in this overflowing trove of human experience. To get you started, here are a few of my favourite 100 Day Projects.
Marc picked something more observational by illustrating people and their clothes. Throughout the 100 days he experiments with a variety of drawing styles and colour palettes, creating vibrant portraits of people in motion.