Self Changing Colors
A Generative Art Experiment in Health
(2017 Daily Art Project)
“Art is not a mirror held up to reality, but a hammer with which to shape it.”
Self Changing Colors was one-year daily generative art project designed to augment medical care by helping me recover my health in the face of debilitating food sensitivities.
The project was based on a simple rule: every day I would do things that were good for me and record how I felt before and after–in the form of a color.
The desire to complete the paintings would motivate positive actions which, as time passed, would improve my life. This improvement would change the way I felt, causing the colors themselves to change and resulting in a visually interesting progression of work. From this basic system, one painting was generated each month in 2017, with colors stacked by day in lines resembling bar graphs.
Inspired by Babak Golkar’s Return Project in which art transcends the limits of the studio, and Theaster Gates’ re-framing of art as a way of approaching things besides art, Self Changing Colors went beyond two dimensional painting to create real world effects, encompassing and influencing my life outside the studio. Through it I reclaimed my sense of agency over my own care, dramatically improved my quality of life and and laid the groundwork to make a full recovery more likely.
Beyond its usefulness in my own life, Self Changing Colors aims to show how artistic thinking can open up our approach to complex problems, and asks people to consider how the open-ended creative power of the arts might be applied in other domains.
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As of late 2018 my recovery continues to progress. The remaining paintings will be photographed and added to the site shortly.