Facets was born almost six months ago, when inspirational digital artist, art director and illustrator Justin Maller challenged himself to create one unique piece of digital art every day for a year. As he approaches the half-way mark, we sat down with the Depthcore Collective co-founder and creative director to find out more about Facets and how it’s panning out…
Computer Arts: Tell us about Facets: you're creating a new image every day for a year – where did you get the idea from?
Justin Maller: I love making personal work – I've always done a lot of it and enjoyed it immensely. However, I was getting to a point with those pieces where simple obsession would have been a welcome reprieve; I was endlessly revising and fiddling and tweaking. Nothing was ever good enough, and it sapped all of the joy out of the work. I hated everything I made by the time I was done with it.
I decided one day to just do something light and simple for pleasure – it felt so good I did it again the next day. After four days I mentioned to my girlfriend that I was really enjoying being so free with the work, and that making something every day was making me feel terrific. She then (quite cruelly) challenged me to continue doing it for a whole year.
CA: Are there any other rules or guidelines for the project, or does anything go?
JM: More or less anything goes! The only rule is that it has to be made in one day with no later revisions.
CA: What are you hoping to achieve from Facets?
JM: I don't have a clear and defined hope of what I'm trying to achieve. If I had to name something, I'd say that I'm trying to find a path where I can enjoy being freely creative again, and to rediscover the experimental and joyful spirit I had when I first discovered digital art and began making work for myself.
CA: Now that you're close to the half-way point, what have you learned or gained so far from the project?
JM: Artistically, I've gained a lot. I've gone in some interesting directions with it, and found new techniques and new directions I otherwise might not have – exploring logo treatments, animal and character forms and many other creative aspects I've not looked in to much before.
CA: Has the project opened up any unexpected doors?
JM: It's definitely drawn a little interest, yeah. I've had a few enquiries relating to the new styles I'm developing. The nice thing about making something every day is that you have something new to show every day and an opportunity to explore a new direction – it's the kind of thing that draws people and brands to you as they wait to see what you do next.
CA: You collaborated with We Are Handsome – how did that come about?
JM: Jeremy Somers from We Are Handsome hit me up about collaborating, and I'm really glad he did! The WAH pieces were the first in the animal series I've been working on lately, and really opened me up to a new application for this Facet style. They're a wonderful company, and I was delighted to work with them – I'm stoked on how the pieces came out too, definitely some of my favourites from the series.
CA: A year’s a long time… Have you ever had a day when you've struggled for inspiration or motivation?
JM: Sure, especially when I have a lot of client work. The good thing is that because the base style of the series is quite abstract, if I get caught short on time one day it's easier to kludge something together than it was for an artist like Karan Singh when he was doing his ‘Quickie’ series – there doesn't necessarily need to be an especially clever concept for each piece, so long as it looks good.
CA: How do you think you'll feel at the end of the project?
JM: I'm kind of dreading the year ending, I'm enjoying this so much. I don't know what I'll do with myself!
Justin Maller is an Australian freelance illustrator and art director who has been producing digital art for over 12 years. Head over to Maller’s portfolio website to see more of his work, and check out the recently revamped Facets website, where you’ll find every image he’s has created so far, plus limited edition prints available for sale, starting at $29.00.