beginning 300 days

Added on by Melissa Beck.

Embarking on an artwork can be invigorating yet daunting.  So many voices.  It starts from within and an excitement begins to grow, but the pressure of inevitable failure, disappointment, harsh responses, and whatever else comes as a result of what the unknown holds, sits out there staring you in the face.

In the past five months I have become a MFA graduate, traveled abroad, visited close friends from decades ago, enjoyed celebrations with loved ones, and now find myself back in Brooklyn bravely attempting to go forth with making my "artist life".  Wonderful things have happened, yet coming back here has been anything but what I hoped or planned for.  I unexpectedly moved several times, first into storage, which ended up being unnecessary, then to a new apartment, which after a month was clearly a disaster, and then back into the apartment I had been living in the first place.  Experiencing weeks of insomnia, buying furniture that I only used for a month, repeatedly getting sick, all in the midst of the trying to find a job in the throws of post-graduating life made me profoundly desperate to feel settled.  A need for routine.  A fear that home has left me.  A longing for home like never before.

To say the least, my life has taken a shift, I've entered a new chapter, perhaps a whole new volume and I feel like already one hundred pages have been written, but perhaps I am only on page two.  No longer do I have the luxury (of which I never considered it that until now) of a studio space or even of the sole focus of making art that being a MFA student allows.  Yet more than ever I am seeing the need to make art.  It is now when I am deprived of the space and time to make art that I see how much I need to make and create as much as I need to eat and sleep.  

So it is from this place that I have begun a new project.  One that relies on time and the passing of it in my life.  For 300 days I am painting one layer of paint one time a day over an object.  I began this on October 5th, 2013 and will end it July 31st, 2014.  That time frame is exactly 300 days.   I thought of this one night as I was sitting, thinking, late at night on the Pratt campus, wondering what I want my life to look like and feeling disappointed about what my present life is.

Present life: wanting to make art, but lack of space and resources strips me of any motivation.  Moving moving moving, finally feeling settled in my old apartment again, but more issues arise with the owners that I am unnerved again.  Will it ever just be calm and routine?  I needed to challenge myself to make art in a regimented manner to make myself make the art I want to make but can't seem to get myself to.  So I came up with this project.  The night I came up with this project, I realized that my lease would be up in exactly 300 days starting the very next day.  The cup and spoon were just the objects I had with me at the time...I had just finished some mediocre frozen yogurt.  So here I am painting a layer, one a day....marking off the days and adding on the coats until I will move again and will enter that next chapter.

photo 1.JPG