9/23/2015 – One Year Later


You’d be forgiven for thinking I’d forgotten about this site. (Although if you’re here now and have been before, you’ve probably noticed the new site style, and possibly even spotted that the site now redirects to ahlgrenart.wordpress.com.)

What have I been up to?

Working, mostly. While I’ve made a few things arts-wise, I’ve been giving nearly all my energy to a full-time day job. I’m paying the bills and pulling my weight, but have unfortunately had to put what I consider to be my “real work” on the back burner.

Today should be the day to bring back the Thing-A-Day Challenge. Even when working full time, I could get myself to muster up something quick each day, and benefit from the effort.

Trouble is, we’re moving again. We’ll be out of the apartment by the end of the month, and back into the basement of Schenn’s father’s house. Any remaining mental energy and time I have available needs to be focused on packing and preparing for the move.

There are pros and cons to the housing situation, but I’m trying to focus on the positives, primarily that I will once again have access to the fine little room which was previously my studio/shrine/sanctuary. I’ll have much more available space than my art-closet could provide, and I’ll again be with the mural I painted back in 2012.

Today’s the day, but not the time. The stars are right, but I’m not ready. I had to do SOMETHING, hence this post – but what next?

I’ve got images from the past year to post. I’ve got ideas for future work which could some day replace my minimum wage day job, if I only put in the time and energy to follow them. I don’t think a simple blog post a day is too much to ask of myself.

I’m tired, but I need to do it anyway. I do it in the hope that someday I won’t have to be so tired anymore, because I will have climbed and dug my way into a niche that suits me, making a living with the work that energizes rather than drains me.



I may no longer have a studio room, but I’m pretty happy with my artcloset.


9/23/2014 – One Year of Daily Doodads

This day marks the one-year point of my project.

What did I set out to do?

To make each day count. To make myself move forward every day, to actually work in what I claim to be – an artist. To build a baseline productivity, a bare minimum, a low threshold to achieve and cross beyond.

How has that gone?

Pretty well. I didn’t give up – and I’m quite good at giving up. It’s perhaps my most practiced skill. I did slip a few times and forgot to post. More frequent were the days when late in the evening I would explain “Shit!” and run to my computer, frantically scraping something together.

The every-day nature of the challenge served to keep me busy, but it also encouraged me to plop out any ol something just for the sake of posting. I lived day-to-day, my creative concerns only to produce something before the time ran out. Projects taking more than a day were occasionally persued but usually just passed over in favor of something quick and satisfying.

Quick and satisfying” is a good way to describe the technique which has all but consumed my efforts since I began using it in December. My method of abstract mirrored photo collage provides me with an ever-shifting magic mirror, a shimmering window into my own subconscious. The process is so embarassingly simple that I am at times ashamed of relying so much on it – and yet the resulting images can speak for themselves. Admitedly I have not yet presented this body of work for professional or academic criticism, but nearly everyone I’ve shared them with seems to experience this same “magic mirror” effect, each piece populated by the contents of the viewer’s own imagination.

The Daily Challenge, as first issued, was intended as something I could surpass. Having done this the challenge should continue in an expanded form. What’s next?

It’s time for me to face reality. I’ve been thinking of the challenge like a job, but my muse can’t write a paycheck. What I’ve been doing has value, but that value is trapped in potential form. I need to convert the best of my work into salable products. Money has been so tight that putting any down for prints of uncertain quality has been a terrifying prospect, but clearly I need to do it. If I can turn a few prints to my friends and family, I can make more, enough to venture out to local art fairs and try my luck.

I’m going to continue making mirror composites, but I need to expand the simple form if I want to grow as an artist. What I really want more than art prints on paper would be printing onto canvas, which could then be further painted by hand to bring forth the details I have seen within. I’d also like to try projecting the images for reproduction or display.


So, what is to be the new daily challenge?

I’m not sure.

Not a very good answer, is it?

I could include into the challenge everything I should be doing each day, such as basic self- and home maintenance, job hunting, and daily journaling – a habit I seem to have lost when I picked up daily image posting. But does the internet want to see all that?

I think it’s time for an ahlgrenart.com daily post hiatus.

I will be working to condense a year’s worth of work into a presentable collection with a new site layout.

Thank you to everyone who has supported me, visited the site or listened to me ramble on about art things.

I’m not done. Promise.