Past and Future Travels of Here Right Now is a collection of 300 pen-and-ink drawings I started in April 2010 and completed in April 2011. To see the full collection and to purchase works from the project, please visit 300drawings.com.
After I graduated college, I was a newlywed woman with an art degree. In the epic post-university scattering of 2009, my community fragmented out across the country. Dave and I wound up in Florida--a state where we knew no one, with foreign streets and monolith clouds and a country between us and the familiar.
The first several months in Florida were a new experience in loneliness. My life had been spent in a large network of dear friends, each supporting and fulfilling different needs and affections; I was a woman created of community, now expecting one other human to satisfy my need for society. It was an unfair, impossible task for me to place on my new husband, particularly on introverted Dave who was deep in his own worries of providing for me despite a heartbreaking career change.
My days were spent exploring the alien city on my bicycle, and at night I created little gifts to mail to faraway friends, crafted needless trinkets for our home, and made art that simultaneously felt wonderfully self-important and utterly insignificant--which, overall, is mostly how I viewed my life.
One evening, I drew two little landscapes that demanded fondness--the style was as foreign to me as the Florida landscape, and the pieces felt like a new adventure. I instantly ran to the store, purchased a stack of cardstock (150 sheets) and a paper cutter, chopped the paper in half, and decided that I would create 300 of these grayscale drawings. I considered myself to be a serial abandoner of large projects, and it was with a deep distrust in my own ability to complete anything truly time-consuming that I committed to the work. I will make five drawings every day, and it will only take a little longer than two months to finish.
It took me one year.
A lot of things happened in that year. I got a job at a local health food store, which plunged me into a community of misfit toys and outdoor wanderers. Dave and I stumbled onto Felicitous, which turned out to be a stumbling of gargantuan significance. We moved into a house on the Hillsborough River. We moved out of the house on the Hillsborough River. Dave lost his job. We traveled to Colorado, Massachusetts, Key West, and Palestine. We went out on boats into the ocean. The ocean filled with oil. We used a ragtag menagerie of free or borrowed vehicles that constantly broke down, only to be replaced with another free or borrowed vehicle. And as I worked through all the changes that were rapidly veering into our still-newlywed relationship, the landscape served as an ideal subject for coping with it all. Everything appeared in the work.
It has been four years since I finished Past and Future Travels of Here Right Now, and my affinity for these little treasures has only grown more lovely. I could tell a very specific story about the exact location or inspiration for each of the 300--a fact which, in practice, often bores anyone adventurous enough to look through the still-massive stack of works I have from the project, as I simply cannot help myself from meekly interjecting the tale of each piece as my viewer anxiously tries to politely consider each of the drawings, but let's be real, there are nearly 200 of these things still in my possession, and no one wants to hear the story a mother finds so darling about each one of her 200 children.
I didn't believe that I could be trusted to see things through, to complete difficult and extended tasks, to maintain my work even if a snazzier idea sprang into my brain. Past and Future Travels of Here Right Now gave me a new sense of confidence in my abilities; if I could finish a year-long project of three hundred pieces, I could take on loads of huge and complicated efforts. I could make Florida my home. I could find my identity. I could stay the course.