A painting a day keeps the gloomy monotony of nine-to-five corporate clock-punching away. That’s the idea behind www.30days30pieces.com, the brainchild of David Schell, a Denver graphic designer who decided he needed to structure creative motivation into his life so he could get back to his heady art-school roots. “A lot of designers like myself would love to be professional artists,” he says. “I went to school as fine artist. But when most of us got out of school, we found out that graphic design was where we were going to make our money – at least enough to buy mac and cheese. But a lot of us still love to paint.”
Hence the website, on which Schell and nineteen of his similarly minded colleagues have pledged to post a new piece of artwork every day all month long. It’s like having homework back in school, but now it’s not the teacher who knows when you miss your assignment, it’s all the other artists and everyone on the Internet – the perfect fear factor to get those paint brushes a-swirlin'. “We will start giving each other shit if we fall behind,” says Schell.
Schell first ran the program in the fall of 2006, to help him and his colleagues incorporate artistic inspiration into their everyday lives. Schell had planned on making the website an ongoing project, but, well, everyday life – including having his first child – got in the way for a while. Now it’s back and essentially the same. There are some alums like Josh Fenn, a talented autistic child and son of Schell’s coworker, who’s already contributed cut-paper cats and penguins. But there are also new contributors, some from as far away as Australia. Don’t months run backwards down there?
So far so good, although three days in a few artists have already fallen behind (we’re watching you Jerimy Brown, Josh Wills, Chris Nguyen, Luke Giltner, Eric Thompson, John Johnston and Danny Paracat). There also seems to have been a technical snafu, since Google has for some reason labeled the site as potentially dangerous to visitors’ computers (maybe the folks at Google are art critics). Finally, there’s a little problem with the site’s moniker, which was named after the number of days in September, the first month the project was run. “March has 31 days a year,” says Schell. “So it’s thrown the 30-day concept off a tad.” – Joel Warner