If an artist has a successful enough career, at some point people start to look through everything they did: Notes, sketches for ideas, unfinished projects, etc. I tend to really appreciate the fragments and pieces found on the side roads of an artist’s life and work even though it’s possible the artist never intended to share them. It feels like I can get closer to a body of work. I’m also a big believer that the failures in life and work generally teach us more than the successes.
On January 1st 2009, Minneapolis artist/designer Brock Davis started a project called “Make Something Cool Everyday”, which he did, for the whole year. Starting May 1st, you can see all 365 pieces of art on display at Creative Electric Studios in NE Minneapolis. Some are awesome, some probably not fully developed; some probably wouldn’t have made the cut in a different context. Seeing all the pieces together reminds me of what the work of an artist is really about: to see or imagine the world differently. And that’s a process, not a single act.
Brock was kind enough to answer a few questions about this project and his work.
Matt Olson - Can you talk a little bit about this project/show “Make Something Cool Everyday? “ What went into deciding to approach your work this way?
Brock Davis - I’m excited about the show. It took a couple of months of planning to figure out how best to present the work. I wanted viewers to get a sense of the timeline of the work, so that walking through the exhibit is like going through each day. All 365 pieces are going to be arranged in the geometric shapes of the calendar months of 2009. I then chose some standout pieces from each month and those pieces will be arranged around the 12 calendar cubes throughout the gallery.
MO - Do you see this year long project as one single work? Or are the individual pieces important to you as single works? Or both?
BD - I see it as both. There were some pieces that developed through the process that could stand on their own, but those pieces were birthed from the overall project, so I keep them attached. Whenever I would stumble upon something that was extendable, it was a good feeling as it gave me an idea of what the next few days would bring. Then those pieces would run their course and it was time for something new. The toughest part was thinking of a new idea. There were many times where I would look at the clock and I would only have an hour left in the day and I still had no idea what I was going to make. I always try to seek something original, which is almost impossible, but just trying to come up with something original can lead to some interesting ideas.
MO - How did this or might this project affect your practice in the future?
BD - A project like this shows all your sides, your consistencies, strengths, weaknesses. It pushed me into media I don’t usually work in, like sculpture and collage. It brought me back to media I haven’t done in a while, like sketching and painting. But I think the most important thing I learned was to pay more attention to my immediate surroundings and realize the creative potential in everyday, ordinary objects and situations. Most of the works in this project are pieces created in my house based on daily observations. Whether I was shaving, staring at a dead fly in a spider’s web or looking at a garden hose in the back yard. This project also taught me to work more efficiently and quickly. I tend to be obsessive-compulsive when it comes to execution, and in the past I would toil for longer periods of time over ideas and executions. This project was kind of like having a job. I would punch in every day and have to have something made (hopefully something interesting) by the end of the day. That pressure and schedule helped me to work more quickly and efficiently.
MO - Who are some of your favorite artists? Architects?
BD - Thomas Heatherwick is probably one of my favorite modern day inspirations...I also like Kim Hiorthoy, Brian Wilson, Stefan Sagmeister, Charley Harper, Paul Rand...and many more.
You can see the all the work created in this year long project here, but I recommend seeing the show for real:
“Make Something Cool Everyday” by Brock Davis - Presented by Creative Electric Studios at the California Buliding Gallery, 2205 NE California Street, Mpls MN
Saturday May 1st Through May 22nd Saturdays 10am-2pm or by Appointment
Opening Reception Saturday May 1st from 6:30 - 11pm
American Mine - [Image: "American Mine (Carlin, Nevada 2, 2007)" by David Maisel]. [Note: The following essay was previously published under the title "Infinite Exchange" ...
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