30 Days of Found Object Art

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I make art every day. Somedays it’s a quick 5-minute collage. Other days I’ll have an hour to work on a single piece or a few at a time. But at some point every day, I schedule time to do something creative. I credit this habit to the monthly challenges I started in January of 2016. Creativebug was offering a month-long drawing challenge hosted by Lisa Congdon. I love her style and I’ve always wanted to develop a drawing practice so I decided to join in. And for extra accountability, I posted my work on Instagram. It was way outside of my comfort zone and literally made me feel sick to my stomach every time I posted one of my sketches, but eventually, it became more about the practice of creating the drawing than it did the worry of what people would think. I later joined another month-long drawing challenge hosted by Pam Garrison. Then I participated in Index-Card-A-Day (ICAD) hosted by Daisy Yellow where you create something, anything, on an index card every day for the months of June and July. By mid-year, I could feel the habit forming. It was no longer a task on my to-do list, it was something I craved and I couldn’t go to bed without completing my piece for the day – and not because I felt guilty if I didn’t, but because I felt incomplete.

By the end of 2016 I was hooked and decided to step it up a notch. I committed to a 365-day challenge. I’ve added other monthly challenges in throughout 2017 as well, but my daily project has given me something consistent to work on, something that will be there for me every day. The book I’m working in is very small so it doesn’t feel overwhelming to commit to completing a page in it each day. And I didn’t limit myself by giving it a specific theme. I decided I’d simply find something that inspires me each day and use it to create a page and tell a story. This practice has made me more aware of the world around me. I see the little things I used to overlook (like 4-leaf clovers in the park), and I’ve realized that just about anything can provide inspiration, even the junk I find on the ground or the annoying/difficult things that happen in life.

After participating in so many challenges hosted by other artists, I knew that someday I’d like to host my own. So I decided to take that idea for a test spin and in honor of the launch of my Etsy store, I’ll be using the month of November to create 30 Days of Found Object Art. Every day I’ll create a piece of artwork that was inspired by something I found either on my morning walks with Murphy in the park, in a parking lot, at my kids’ schools, or around my house. Some items will be used as tools, others for color or pattern inspiration, and some may become a story starter. There aren’t any prompts for the month, I will simply respond to the “junk” I find throughout the course of my day. I’ll be posting the artwork every day in Instagram and you can find me here or by searching for my account @mrkanthony (there is also a link on the left side of my blog). I’ve completed the first four days and you can see them below.

Day 1:

 

Day 2:

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Day 3:

Day 4:

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I’d love to have you join me! Don’t worry about catching up, you can start any time you like. Just create something inspired by a found object. If you post your work on Instagram, don’t forget to tag me (@mkranthony) and use the hashtag #30daysoffoundobjectart so that I can see your work and follow your journey. And by the end of the month, you’ll have a new habit of looking for inspiration in unexpected places all around you!

Let’s go exploring!

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Lost & Found

Hello again! It has been a long time since I’ve written here. If you’ve been following along on Instagram, then you know I’ve been busy during my time away. I found that it was easier to complete work and post it there than it was to compose and format a blog post here. And with limited time, I needed to be efficient with the few free moments I had. However, I found that more often than not, I was stretching to the limit for length of Instagram posts and editing them down was becoming more time consuming, and sometimes difficult, which made me realize that I needed to writing blog posts and not trying to squeeze all my thoughts into 2200 characters.

I feel that all of my recent growth as an artist can be attributed to challenges. It all started when I participated in the monthly drawing challenges a year and a half ago hosted by Creativebug. They kept me accountable and gave me a goal to work towards. I was also able to build a community through Instagram and connect with others who were working on their drawing and painting skills as well.

By the end of the year, I didn’t’ want to lose any of the motivation and momentum I had gained so I decided to take on the goal of completing a 365-day challenge. I was incredibly lucky and won a giveaway that Tori Weyers from @drawriot was hosting which included a tiny daily Moleskine journal. I never would have chosen a book that small or with that type of paper, but that little book quickly became one of my most cherished possessions and I absolutely adore it.

On January first of this year, I created a page and wanted to add a message so I stamped a word on top of my artwork. The next day I wanted to continue the thought and did it again. I never intended for that to become “my thing” for this project, but it stuck and every single page has a word on it that has something to do with my post for the day. Most of them are stamped with a tiny alphabet stamp set I have, but there are a handful that have words from a printed piece of paper (newspaper, a fortune from a cookie, etc…).

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I had only been writing brief posts to accompany my journal pages. A few words to describe the process or style, something vague and generic. I was too scared to get too personal or reveal too much. It was easier to hide behind my artwork. But the more I connected with people on Instagram, the more I realized it was because of their stories. I learned that I had a lot more in common with the people I followed and admired than I ever thought possible. And it was through their stories that I found strength and inspiration. So, I decided to be brave and started to share a little more of my stories. Then they became longer, longer and longer. I never imagined that anyone would read them, but they did. And I started connecting with people through those words. My words.

I have always loved writing. I have always wanted to be “a writer.” But fear and lack of self-confidence have always seemed to talk me out of it. Many times, I have set my writing aside. But it finds me. It always finds me. It doesn’t give up on me even when I give up on it. And through all those challenges – the drawing, the painting, the collage – somehow, words are what rose to the surface and emerged through all my layers of color and paper. This realization does not mean that I am giving up on my other art, not by a longshot. In fact, I’ve learned that I need them both. They need to work in tandem, that’s where they get their strength. That’s where they belong.

Thank you for following along, for taking the time to read all the words, for pausing to look at the pictures, for commenting, for connecting. We, like art and words, are all stronger together. I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing today if it wasn’t for the community I’ve discovered on Instagram. I was terrified to post my work, worried about harsh criticism and cruel comments. But all I’ve gotten are friendships, support, encouragement and the most amazing inspiration. And that’s what I hope to give back. My dog Murphy and I are still taking walks in the morning, still finding lots of amazing stuff and I have a lot of exciting news to share, places I’ll be and stories to tell, but for now, I just wanted to say hello. And thank you for stopping by.

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