Weekday Minutes Wasted.

 

I was really indecisive about what I wanted to collect data on in this project and, admittedly, I really pushed off thinking about it at all until the last minute. One thing that I have noticed about myself is that I waste a whole lot of time. I sit around literally thinking about how I’m not doing anything. Lots of times this is because I have something important to do that I’m not doing, but making it so that I can’t do anything fun either (I even sat around for two hours working myself up to write this post). I just decided to count up how much time I waste (since I’m always looking at the clock) every day, since that was my issue in the first place.

I ended up wasting about (give or take an hour) 3 hours on weekdays and 4 hours on weekend-days. The results feel super gross, but not altogether shocking (imagine if I utilized all that time!). That is about 1,119 hours or just about 50 days a year. Hopefully some weeks are more productive than others.

One of the reasons this project felt difficult at first to me was the idea of painting data. I totally love looking at graphs and stuff, or data set out in a creative way (I’m thinking of the subreddit /r/dataisbeautiful). However, when I think of the type of data I like looking at, it is all crisp and mathematical, which feels very far off from my style, at least what I’d want to translate to paint (I could probably swing drawing).

My first idea for the painting was to paint a self-portrait and smear over to take out a chunk representative of time wasted. I didn’t want another big-head-in-the-middle composition, though, so I settled on splitting the head and drawing smears and fragmenting the face, with one smear representing one minute in a day wasted. I originally intended to have one half of the head having 240 smears for the weekend, and the other having 180 for a weekday, but the painting started filling up fast, so I decided (for the sake of aesthetics) to stick with representing a weekday. I feel like this idea was not conceptually as strong as the original idea of taking away, but I think it turned out in the long run.

I am not sure if I like the way this painting turned out, but that may be because I was super stressed out about making it the whole time. It felt like every time I went back in to work on it, it would come out looking worse, and all I could do was hope that eventually it would pull through looking all right. Only in the last few hours (and definitely not until the data smears came in) did it start looking decent at all.

I have made a permanent note in my mind not to zone out and accidentally treat eyeball place-holder sketches as a true guide and start painting them in. A true mess.

Memories.

I only do this on occasion nowadays, but I used to frequently make mix-CDs for people I was close to. Thinking back, I believe I was using them as a way of communicating. I would labor over them, too—like I would spend days thinking about what songs in what order sounded right and had lyrics that would get across what I was hoping to express.

I decided that I would try to paint the emotions and thoughts that would go into these compilations onto actual CDs. So I set out to do this, listening to the past compilations that I made for people for inspiration as I went along. It was kind of a bizarre experience; it felt like the playlists really transported me back to the time (in particular) that I was making a lot of them. At this point, I decided to expand upon my original idea and paint memories onto the CDs, while still retaining some of the original concept. It’s a bit of a cheesy approach, but it’s a literal approach of how music can hold memories and emotions.

I was a bit hesitant with this project at first, because sometimes when people make art that is too personal, it won’t mean anything to regular viewers. I generally try my best to make my work unspecific enough that it is accessible, but I feel like this piece is definitely pushing beyond that boundary a bit. I’ve been trying to overthink everything less this semester, though, so I decided to just do it anyway.

I really enjoy how the paintings look coming out from the odd CD sheen, but that’s about it. I struggled with these paintings quite a bit. I think I thought they’d be easier because they are small, but I quickly realized I have a lot harder of a time working small, and it was confusing and irritating going back to acrylic paint. In my memory I liked acrylic better, but I decided that’s not true. I kind of can’t wait to throw these in a closet so that I don’t have to see the worst shoe ever painted anymore, but I still flip through them like I’m looking at old photos.