CFW Artist's "300
DAYS" Featured in
By: Melissa Beck
Center for Faith & Work artist Melissa Beck’s current project 300 Days has been selected to be part of an exhibition “Under Construction” at SOHO20 Gallery in Chelsea. Everyday for 300 days Melissa is painting one layer of paint over a disposable cup and spoon. The 300th day is July 31st, 2014. View more about her process at
“I remember thinking, “what if I painted over something once a day for an extended period of time?” I had been longing to move back home to California, to be done with this period of living in NYC but I had committed to another year. So far it hasn’t gone as expected or desired, not even close. If anything, I’ve regressed, merely trying to survive by staying healthy and rested, but I can’t even manage that. I’m in unsettled places of dwelling and art making…” –excerpt from journal Day 9
That is an excerpt from my journal on the night I thought of the 300 Days project. There were exactly 300 days left in my apartment lease. My life was in an upheaval with my living situation and as an artist, having just graduated with my MFA, but with no studio or context in which to make art. I was vulnerable. As the object itself is slowly being transformed over time, my life, where I will live, my desires, and my understanding of myself are slowly being transformed as well.
The key word here is “slowly”. Many things happened this year that I didn’t expect, but they did not happen in one day. Like the changing of this object, they happened through small shifts and changes. Every day I paint this object, and it doesn’t look any different than the day before. Days go by as if what I’m doing makes no impact, but in reality, what is happening to the object is a substantial change.
I recently had the object with me in public and received many turning heads and questions of “what is that?” It is undeniable that this object has had a significant alteration. It is not the same anymore; in fact it is far from what it once was. I am not the same anymore either.
God can work slowly, almost invisibly in us. We want God to produce in us much faster. We grow and see our faith strengthen, but then we fall away, regress and wonder if God can really do a work in us. There were a few days I forgot to paint the object. I felt failure at that, but I realized I am the author of this project and I create rules as I go. I decided not to scrap the whole thing because I forgot a day. It became more about the journey itself. The days I missed and the fact that there won’t be exactly 300 layers in the end, is all part of that journey.
As an artist who is trying to find her way and as a child of God trying to follow Him, I realize it will take time, regressions, and days where I wonder if what I am doing is making any difference. Good things take time, we all know that, but when we are in the middle of the “takes time” part, we don’t believe it will end or there will be any fruit. Yet the fruit does come, it has to, but often not in the form we expect.