The Nine-year Daily Series That Pushes The Art Of Inspiration To Its Farthest Reach

Between each sunrise and sunset, dragging our weary heads from our pillows and drifting back down into the depths of our subconscious, visual artist, Mike Winkelmann, creates and completes a new piece of art.

His past work has been used by major electronic dance music artists such as, Avicii and Skrillex, and his portfolio is incredibly varied and colourful. The daily project, one which Mike proudly proclaims to have, ‘never missed a day with’, since it’s birth nine years ago, is not only a beguiling experience for the viewer but an important learning curve for the artist himself. It forces him to direct his attention into one thing, to overcome trials there and then instead off putting them off until tomorrow and, perhaps the most challenging of all, to continually come up with new concepts and ideas.

Everydays – April 2016
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Perhaps this need to continually devise new ways to express himself, to refresh his mind and his work, is why Mike’s finished piece often ends up very disparate from the original idea. He goes with the flow: they say the hardest part is getting started, so just start, and this seems to be the ethos here: “just jump in and see where things go”. Sometimes something springs to mind, an idea or a vision, and sometimes, no matter how inherently creative you are, it doesn’t. However, for a project like Everday’s, there is no time to feel uninspired, to say ‘I’ll think of something tomorrow’, and so consciously starting and letting subconscious take over from there is sometimes the best way.

Mike’s latest work feels like a science-fiction storyboard in collision with a dessert, trance festival: it is otherworldly and, at times, desolate yet it is colourful, kaleidoscopic and hallucinogenic.

Everydays – March 2016
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We spoke to Mike, who publishes his daily images on his website, Beeple-Crap, about his project.

The Plus: How did the ‘Everydays’ project begin?
Mike Winkelmann:
I started doing Everydays so that I could learn more and 9+ years later, I’m still at it. I started because if you want to be good at something, it takes practice. Everything improves with more practice.

TP: How challenging has it been to continue the project everyday for 9 years?
MK:
I don’t think of it as challenging like “ugh, I have to do it” so much as “ugh, there is so much more I can learn.” The challenge is to not get too hung up on perfection. I try my best every day and then, at some point, I have to stop and tell myself that I can try again tomorrow.

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Everydays – February 2016

TP: How do you feel your work has evolved during this time?
MK:
You just have to look back at where I started – some of it is just really crap – but I’ve learned so much and there’s always more to learn.

TP: Where do you get your inspiration from?
MK:
These are some of the artists that inspire me… Ash Thorp, GMonk, David O’Reilly, Aaron Beck, Greg Broadmore, Vitaly Bulgarov, everybody on Tumblr. I also follow several design blogs, such as Motionographer, Tumblr, and Behance. But I can also be inspired by something mundane and ordinary like the time I was blown away by the shop area of the building where my dad worked. I didn’t really see the computers and machines – to me it was more like lights and shapes and I had to take pictures of all of it.

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Everydays – February 2016

TP: How long, on average, does it take you to create each piece? What is your creative process?
MK:
That definitely varies on how busy I am, how into a picture I am and whether I am intent on getting something right or just learning a new process. How tired I am makes a difference too. It can vary from 30 minutes to 3 hours. I guess the average is about 2 hours.
Creatively, I can start with something in mind and expand on it. Other times, it might start out as one thing and end up totally different. Definitely, one part of the process is to let it go. I think that’s why some people can’t produce because they keep looking at ways to make it better. Or they can’t even get started because it feels overwhelming or they have a block. They need to just start. Just startwith anything.

TP: How long do you see this project continuing for?
MK:
Time will tell. It works for me so I want to continue it for now. I’m not OCD about it. I do it because I’ve found that it’s a good discipline and I really am learning more every day.

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Everydays – February 2016

TP: Tell us a little bit more about yourself – what’s your background?
MK:
I grew up in Wisconsin, where I still live with my wife Jen and we have a toddler and new baby. I have a computer science degree from Purdue, which prompted me to teach myself web design because I decided programming wasn’t my favorite. I was a web designer with a Wisconsin based company for over 10 years and learned the creative stuff in my spare time. When I was a kid, I drew pictures and had fun and, as an adult, I draw pictures and have fun. I’m pretty much just an average guy – with a busy mind.

TP: Aside from Everydays, what other projects are you currently involved in?
MK:
I have several different VJ projects, a film, and very much into VR. There is always something new to learn!

Everydays – January 2016

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Everydays – December 2015
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Everydays – November 2015
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Everydays – October 2015

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