One of the goals of Trifecta Edition is to provide up-and-coming artists with professional opportunities they might not otherwise have. By working with printmakers, artisans and designers to produce and sell fine art prints and other objects, our artists benefit from options and exposure usually reserved for more established artists. From the beginning, the Trifecta team has planned to create an artist residency program, The Hibernaculum. Our artist retreat is located in the Adirondacks. The residency offers room, board and a small stipend.
We are thrilled to welcome David Buckley Borden as our first artist-in-residence! We were inspired to select David after seeing the work he has been doing for Boston’s Fun-A-Day—a project where artists make a new piece of work every day for the entire month of January. David’s daily works take the form of landscape proposals. Some are clever and practical, others surreal, but all are wonderful and thought-provoking.
We sat down with David recently to talk about his Fun-A-Day work and his hopes for the Residency:
TE: Tell me about the Fun-A-Day project you’ve been working on.
The Fun-A-Day project is the brainchild of Artclash Collective, a Philadelphia-based group that organizes art projects that are designed to be fun, inclusive and participatory. I’m currently contributing to the local Boston Fun-Day Project lead by Wendi Wing. The Fun-A-Day premise is simple: make something everyday and share it for the month of January. For my particular Fun-A-Day project, I’m developing 31 one-page landscape installation proposals in the form of a drawing, which up to this point has been mixed grab bag of multi-media (pen, ink, watercolor, photography, photoshop collage, etc).
TE: Fun-A-Day is a bit like a New Year’s Resolution, then. How hard is it to come up with something new every day? Do you feel like participating in this project helps start your new year off right?
Starting the year with the charge of creating something new everyday has been extremely productive. Coming up with the ideas is the easier part of the creative equation—the manifestation of the drawing is the bigger challenge. Producing something new every day is not easy. By day 15, the lack of sleep becomes problematic. Still, being forced to finish and post one piece per day doesn’t leave room for indecision, crippling perfectionism or fruitless obsession over details. Just get it down as best you can within a 24 hour time frame… that’s the mantra.
TE: What kind of art-making momentum does this give you?
Getting started on a project is often challenging. The creative prompt really is the power of the Fun-A-Day project. It also forces you to get into the habit of finishing work, which is the second hardest part of art and design. Some say that creative practice is like a muscle. In order for it to be healthy and productive, it needs to exercised and sometimes pushed into the pain threshold.
TE: How does this project inform your design and art-making practice throughout the year?
Essentially, by the end of the month, I will have initiated 31 individual projects. Some of the work will grow legs, others will die on the vine or perhaps be resurrected 10 or 20 years down the road. I view a lot of the fun-a-day proposals as either conceptual study drawings, first iterations, or small components of larger art and design projects. So, the Fun-A-Day landscape proposals aren’t finished works in and of themselves, but the beginnings of more refined works that have yet to be realized. In essence, I’m laying down the creative groundwork for future development.
TE: Describe your overarching themes.
The overarching theme is a freewheeling exploration of the New England landscape and our cultural love affair with its “great outdoors.” The proposals run the gamut of our cultural landscape and include everything from wild turkeys to watershed awareness to abandoned homesteads in rural New England.
In the spirit of the Fun-A-Day project, the underlying theme is fun. I want to create a sense of wonder with art and design while simultaneously keeping the work accessible. To do this, I often find myself hacking and mixing pop culture and elements of branding with landscape ecology, geology and land use practices both old and new.
TE: What are your creative goals for the project? Do you plan to exhibit this work anywhere?
Yes, Wendi Wing and the Boston Fun-A-Day team are organizing a group show this Spring. Details will be posted on the Boston Fun-A-Day tumblr.
Beyond producing the 31 drawings and spinning off some art prints from the body of work, the project is really a design build effort. The goal is to build a couple of these proposals this summer. Although some the proposals are wholly impractical to build, others are relatively easy to construct. Some of the proposals have a particular place or client in mind, others are just the wild style of imagination.
I think its important to also note that I’m currently pivoting my creative practice away from strict corporate design to concentrate on my own creative vision of what it means to be a landscape architect. The Fun-A-Day project offered a platform for me to communicate this creative shift as well as a way to frame my landscape related interests.
For the Fun-A-Day project, I was also interested in the dialogues that stem from the daily posting of this new work online. In some ways, the thematic and daily episodic presentation of work is a two-way broadcast program. I’ve been enjoying the feedback. Some of the proposals are a direct response to unsolicited input, including criticism. For example, the Jan 7: Cellar Hole Fun Ball proposal was created as a response to a critique of the Jan 6: Cellar Hole Memorial. A landscape architecture student on tumblr claimed the Cellar Hole Memorial proposal was “dull and one-dimensional.” So, instead of arguing the merits of land-use history awareness and the essence of memorials, I offered him the Fun Ball proposal, which after all, was in better service to the spirit of the Fun-A-Day project.
TE: How do you imagine your Fun-A-Day work will play into your artist residency at Eagle Lake this summer?
With 50 acres of land, a modest budget, helping hands, and most importantly a generous block of time, I’m giddy at the possibilities and am eager to see how a couple select proposals (Nurse Logs and Erratic Gift Pack) play out in the field. Once I’m able to spend some time at Eagle Lake, I imagine a whole crop of new proposals will emerge. It’s going to be great.
TE: What else are you working on these days?
My big Spring project is an installation at Bodega in Boston, which I’m tentatively calling “Wild West.” This installation will be equal parts art show, landscape architecture exhibition and interior design. The work will explore North America’s conflicted relationship with its landscape and natural resources. For the Bodega project I’m intentionally positioning landscape architecture in a non-traditional venue in an effort to make it more relevant to popular culture. The installation will include drawings, prints, art objects and custom displays I’ve been developing with Brad Crane.
I’m also working on some new silkscreen prints with Trifecta (bespoke logs anyone?) and making some letterpress maps with Kim LaFoy and Ryan Habbyshaw at With Valor. Beyond that I’m focused on building small scale landscape installations through out New England. So, 2014 is the year of the workhorse.