Andrew Buckles, an artist, has thought a lot about procrastination. It was the desire to overcome this obstacle that inspired him to take over as organizer of the “30 Day Art Challenge,” an annual group show at the Tashiro Kaplan Artists' lofts in Pioneer Square, in its twelfth year.
The Challenge involves 100 artists of all skill levels who each agree to produce 30 works of art in 30 days. Registration requires a $75 registration fee, which includes 30 8 x 10 canvases and a guaranteed gallery show during the December Arts Walk. Anyone can sign up.
The event was dreamed up by another artist, Charles Holzhey, who stopped in during the registration period at the T.K. Gallery, on his way home to his live-work apartment upstairs. The beauty of the Challenge, he says, is that it’s open to anyone willing to do the work, so you never know what you're going to see. "I did this for ten years," Holzhey said. "You get some delightful, amazing work, and you get some horribly abysmal stuff."
"The Challenge attracts all kinds. From people who do it for a lark, such as an 8-year-old girl who entered with her mother,” he said, adding that the girl then sold more of her work than her mom, who was an established painter. ("Art, it's not a game for sensible, sound people," he said).
Some pros also sign up, but keep it on the downlow, using different names, because they're under contract at a gallery, he said.
The work, once turned in, is displayed randomly, with the artists' names on the back. “There’s no program to tell you which is the important work," he said. "“You have to make sense of it yourself."
As the participants filed in, Buckles instructed them in how to type their name and contact information into a laptop, then Donna Moyer snapped headshots, which will be used on a website that Buckles is putting together to promote the event, the work and the artists.
Dressed in a black long-sleeved T-shirt, black slacks and black slip-on mules, Buckles looked the part of the artist, while pacing the room waiting for more people to show up. The goal was 100, and the count was at 67.
“Do you want a shot of Jack Daniels?” he asked. “Anyone want a shot of Jack?”
Moyer, also in black, is a professional photographer who has wanted to cross over into fine art for many years. This year, she's using the momentum of the Art Challenge to make it happen.
"I've worked as a sports photographer, I’ve worked for the army, [and] as a baby photographer. Nothing but babies for six months,” she said. “I found that the more I did [photography] for the money, the less I enjoyed it.”
But what held her back from taking the kinds of photos she wanted to take? "It was money," she said. "There's always a reason not to do something that doesn't fill an immediate need, such as, how am I going to put bread on the table."
Past strategies to motivate went awry. “I'm a list-maker, but then I get angry at the list, and I tell the list, ‘You're not the boss of me.’”
Now, Moyer has landed a job doing administrative work at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, leaving her with a lot of untapped creative energy.
"My plan is to work two hours every day on the weekdays and six hours on the weekends," she said. The motivation this time, she said, is that she is accountable to more than just herself. “If I don't finish, people are going to say, ‘Donna didn't finish,’" she said.
Two-time Challenge participant Ed Bourelle also entered this year. His tee-shirt said "Warmachine," the name of the most popular board game made by the company, Privateer Press, where he works as the creative director.
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