A year ago, New York-based designer and illustrator Justin Maller (opens in new tab) accepted a challenge from his girlfriend to create a new piece of personal artwork every day for 12 months.
He accepted, got to work and is now the proud owner of 365 beautiful, geometric-style images that make a series of artwork titled Facets (opens in new tab). We chatted to the talented creative to find out more.
Congratulations on finishing Facets! Did you ever struggle for ideas?
I've always been a big believer that if you sit down with time and purpose, results will follow. That's the approach I took for this project. There were a couple of days where I got caught a little short on time and ideas, but I always managed to pull something out!
You began the series mainly with abstract artworks before exploring animal forms. What prompted the move?
Actually, I was talking with Jeremy Somers from We Are Handsome about doing a collaborative piece featuring one of their animal-related designs. I tried a few abstract approaches, but Jeremy thought it would be cool to try something more literal, so I rethought my approach and the illustrative facet style was born!
Are the colour combinations used in these pieces inspired by your mood at the time or the subject?
100% mood at the time. Just whatever feels good - Facets was very much about doing it to enjoy it.
Roughly how long did each piece take to create?
The abstract pieces usually took between two and four hours and the illustrative animals more like four to six. A lot of the work got done late at night after I finished client work, but the more elaborate ones were done during the day during quiet periods.
In this series you've explored abstract art, logo types, animal and character forms. Which was your favourite to create?
I've probably taken the most satisfaction from the animals, just because this is the first time I've ever worked in an illustrative style that wasn't abstract or photo based.
It was really enjoyable to see that particular style emerge and develop out pretty quickly - Facets was great in terms of forcing and condensing progression.
Can you tell us your three favourite pieces from the series?
Probably Beach Dreams, Handsome and Prowl, just because they were the launching points for new series of studies - the hazy abstract forms, the original beast portraits and finally full body beast illustrations. They were fun pieces to make.
Has anything come off the back of facets? Interest, new clients, exposure, etc?
Yeah, a bit of everything. Definitely a bigger and broader audience. It's cool to have a few new stylistic approaches up my sleeve - that's the biggest upside.
Now that the series has finished, how do you feel about what you've achieved over the last year?
I just feel a lot of gratitude. I'm grateful Ting challenged me to do it, I'm glad I accepted and saw it through, and I'm appreciative of everything I've been able to gain and share. It's just been a wonderful, positive experience.
To be honest, I don't know what I learned about myself yet. When I took this on, I had zero doubt in my mind I'd see it through - the thought never entered my head that I might not make it. I think the broader lessons have yet to reveal themselves.
What does the future hold for Facets now that the series has ended? Do you plan to continue creating work in this style?
I can't wait to start another project - I'm trying to see this one out properly first, get an app developed, get the book produced, have a show etc. I'd much rather just move on to the next project and get creating again, but I'm forcing myself to do the development legwork and production I hate so much first. Definitely will keep working in these styles!
I've got some great ideas for new projects, but again, forcing myself to wait until this one if fully realised before I delve in!
Want to see more? Check out the full collection of illustrations on the Facets website (opens in new tab) and let us know your favourite!
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