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.