Arts and Culture

Artist Karen Bozik's 100 Days Project: Day Two

Denver painter Karen Bozik first learned of the 100 Days Project, an annual collaborative online project for which a network of people working in interdisciplinary art create a work per day for 100 days and share the process through blog pages, from Sabin Aell, whose Hinterland gallery is currently showing One Hundred Days: The Online Collaborative, featuring seven artists from across the county who participated in last year's project. Bozik decided to throw her hat in for the 2011 effort, which began Saturday and continues through August 28. And she already had a theme to run with.

"I've been working on developing this for a couple of years," Bozik explains. "I'm interested in the concept of genetic memory, and it really dawned on me in part because of Facebook: I was actually found on Facebook by another Bozik who lives in Istanbul, and this brought up all kinds of connections for me." Beginning with the fact that, despite her immediately Slovakian roots (Bozik's family traces back to Bratislava), she's always been drawn to things Islamic: design, art and thought. Plus, she's since learned through research that Boziks hail from throughout the Balkans and immediate regions.

That lead her to choose to embark on an armchair journey, the alternative to her "pipe dream" -- actual travel to southeastern Europe -- by choosing to combine further research and daily watercolor drawings inspired by genetic connections. And, outside of the geographical footsteps, she has no idea where it will eventually take her: "I can't look that far ahead. I'm going to be surprised. I think some of it is going to be very dark, from the dark side of my psyche."

On her blog, Bozik describes her personal 100 Days project as such:

compelled by the notion of genetic memory, i have researched the surname "bozik", searching for possible connections between my impulses/obsessions and ethnic history. my ancestors were slovak, but i have found "boziks" in macedonia and turkey. these 100 watercolor drawings will trace my armchair travels starting from bratislava, through hungary, serbia, bulgaria, and ending in istanbul. beginning on may 21st., i'll post a new drawing every day for 100 days.

Bozik says she's not happy with Saturday's drawing; she prefers yesterday's -- a lovely folkloric revery that took longer than expected to complete. That one follows, along with its research-driven inspiration.

"(the Slav's) chief feature is an over-sentimental mind, easily prone to rhapsodic vagaries, alternating with fits of the profoundest melancholy." -E. Reich, "The Slav and His Future," Fortnightly Review, March 1, 1904.

And this is what she says about the slow start:

just got it up, finally. it's quite difficult, as you can imagine and, of course, this is just the "tip-of-the-iceberg", in regards to this subject matter. it's like researching anything, once you begin, you fall deeper and deeper, having to claw your way out. This 100 day format may not do it justice because of its severe limitations, but, because of those limitations, i can't allow myself to drift -- I'll have to stay 150% focused on it for the duration. i was a bit dismayed yesterday, because whenever I've done similar work in the past, I've always given myself the emotional/psychological freedom to draw without the anxieties of an audience. that first drawing was sort of a disaster, i think, because of the public aspect of this project. i think that will get easier as i go along (and hopefully, they'll go faster, too).

To keep abreast of Bozik's progress, visit her 100 Days: Ancestral Drawings blog page, or revisit Show and Tell for weekly reports. And in the meantime, see One Hundred Days: The Online Collaborative at Hinterland through June 11.

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Susan Froyd started writing for Westword as the "Thrills" editor in 1992 and never quite left the fold. These days she still freelances for the paper in addition to walking her dogs, enjoying cheap ethnic food and reading voraciously. Sometimes she writes poetry.
Contact: Susan Froyd