About a year ago the intrepid new collective calling themselves GRAFT held their inaugural art show on the historic block in Barelas that is also home to the Tannex and Small Engine Gallery. The show was a Fun-A-Day exhibit. The concept of Fun-A-Day was created by Philadelphia's Artclash Collective and the parameters are simple: Participants repeat a creative process every day for the month of January. In February, an un-juried exhibition is held to showcase the results. This Friday, Feb. 12, GRAFT will hold its second Fun-A-Day show and celebrate one official calendar year of existence.
“Fun-A-Day happened in the space several times before we took ownership of it,” Jazmyn Crosby, who is part of the GRAFT collective along with Jessica Chao, Cecilia McKinnon, Danny Crouch and Beth Hansen, pointed out. “So, we thought it would be an interesting show to transition with.” McKinnon added that the un-juried, anything goes feel of Fun-A-Day was an ideal inaugural show because the five “wanted people to feel like it is a space that belongs to them and feel connected to what they [are] seeing there.” Not just that, but “doing shows that allow experimentation and weirdness and wildness is really exciting to us as well,” Crosby said.
In the past year, GRAFT has succeeded in delivering weird and wild shows to the community and the five agree that they've held true to their mission “and even expanded on it,” Crouch said. Fun-A-Day further advances the group's convictions by creating a safe space for experimentation. “The problem with juried shows,” McKinnon explained, “is that people only submit safe work. They don't experiment.” Crosby reiterated that thought by pointing out that “[Fun-A-Day] is not pretentious and it's not exclusive.” Crouch then expanded on that thought, pointing out that the show “invites people that perhaps don't consider themselves artists” to participate and show their work in a gallery space—creating a liberating and far-reaching effect. “It creates a lot of opportunity for people,” Chao concluded, and mentioned that there are several individuals who are participating that have never shown their art before. This year's Fun-A-Day will feature around 45 artists, all taking on vastly different projects—from photography to drawings to sound art and so much more. McKinnon, for example, went for a walk everyday and collected trash that will be incorporated and bound into books.
make a mark every day … art should be a daily practice.
“It's interesting that some people will do their art practice everyday and some people will take their daily life routines and turn that into art for a month,” Hansen mentioned. The daily ritual, however, is deeply important to Fun-A-Day no matter how the process takes shape. “Timing is very important in this,” Chao said, “it's the beginning of the year so it resets your intention … it keeps you in focus and [helps you] transition from the past year to the new year.” “I think that [ritual] is a really important aspect of art—period,” Crosby said, speaking about the process of creation both within the context of Fun-A-Day and beyond it. “Pushing through, doing it everyday, realizing that it's a discipline and you have to work at it,” is an important lesson that can be gleaned for participants. And this daily grind can create unexpected outcomes, too. “It's interesting to see how things change after you set up the system you're going to be working in … how it ends up being something totally different at the end,” Crouch added. “It felt like the more things repeated, the more they changed.”
“Some of my favorite advice,” Crosby said near the end of our conversation,“is just to make a mark every day … art should be a daily practice.” And with that daily practice, as many who have participated in Fun-A-Day have discovered, it becomes a revelatory practice too, culling new ideas and inspirations from the depths.
Fun-A-Day Albuquerque opens on Friday, Feb. 12 from 6-9pm. As opening night approaches, all that's left are the logistics. “There's a lot of physical objects going into a small space,” McKinnon said, “so there's the problem solving of creating more wall space.” Last year, as they prepared for their first show, the small collective built a whole new wall to display Fun-A-Day projects. With even more participants than last year, this year will provide a greater display challenge, but is also illustrative of GRAFT's expansive and exciting reach, truly allowing the community to see their creativity reflected in the bright little space on Fourth Street.