Fun-A-Day is an annual 31-day project intended to be a creative kick-start to the New Year. Participants are asked to make and share one piece of artwork per day for the month of January. I participated in the project by producing daily one-page landscape installation proposals and found the project to be professionally rewarding in a number of surprising ways. Among other professional benefits, I was awarded the Trifecta Edition’s Artist-In-Residence in part as a result of my involvement with the project.
I had a discussion with Land8’s Lucy Wang about the creative and professional benefits of the project including the power of using content-driven social media as a tool for both professional development and proactive networking.
Jan 5: Wood Pile Target | 30-foot target supergraphic (spray paint cut ends of timber log stack) for Timber Country awareness campaign.
LAND8: Congratulations on your recent appointment as Trifecta Edition’s Inaugural Artist-In-Residence! How will this experience play into your work in landscape architecture? Can you tell me about your background in landscape architecture and what themes you’ve carried over into your work today?
Thank you Lucy. I’m thrilled about the residency and its potential to fuel my creative development as a landscape architect.
I earned a Master of Landscape Architecture degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Design, and then practiced in the Urban Studio at Sasaki Associates for a couple years, and then Ground, Inc, a much smaller firm known for their artful landscapes. I’ve now thrown my hat into the wild west of freelance design, which affords me the time and flexibility I need for my own creative pursuits and to prepare for the residency and maximize its opportunity.
Common themes within my landscape architecture practice and art include site-specific work, ecological awareness and education, and the influence of place on our daily lives. In my view, the human condition is a place-based experience. By way of art and design, I’m interested in creating experiences that add meaning to our lives. My creative sweet spot is the intersection of landscape, art, and cultural events (people!). I’m looking forward to the residency as an opportunity to dive deeper into these interests.
Jan 7: Cellar Hole Fun | A cellar hole for the kids, the vernacular of play, the foundation of fun… Just insert plastic. Add “fun balls” to desired depth (minimum of 30 inches) to structurally sound stone foundation and make local architectural history relevant to today’s youth.
Can you talk about how you got started with your Landscape Installation Fun-A-Day project and how your participation ties in with future professional goals?
I participated in the Boston Fun-A-Day project last year and was so inspired by the process that I decided to do it again in 2014. This year I wanted to leverage the project to accomplish some professional goals. The first goal was to investigate the small-scale landscape installation with a focus on rural environments. The second goal was to demonstrate my creative interests and project my professional direction to world at large. And, the third goal was to test social media as a professional development tool.
As a volunteer event producer for the Boston Society of Landscape Architects Emerging Professionals group, I’m also interested in professional development for young designers. I have been looking at the social component of professional networking, both on and off line, for a couple of years now. In many respects, this project serves as a case study to test social media as an engaging approach to networking, beyond the obligatory LinkedIn profile.
Jan 14: Interpretive Watershed Markers | Increase local watershed awareness relative to regional hydrologic system. Interpretive “signs” communicate stream orders within the Merrimac River Watershed. Each stream order is represented with one granite chevron (third-order stream represented in illustration). Chevrons are engraved with the distance from headwaters as well as distance to the Atlantic Ocean.
“Such daily practice pays creative dividends; it exercises creativity, design thinking, graphic communication skills and ultimately feeds back into one’s overall design practice.”
Where did you share your daily Fun-a-Day landscape proposals?
Beyond exploring design ideas and the creative exercise of producing a daily drawing, one of the most rewarding aspects of the project is that it’s equal parts content and delivery. Social media is the communication driver behind the project: the project is updated daily (Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram and Twitter) with drawings and other project developments and news.
In many ways, the project is a fast-paced, real-time online charrette that occurs within the sphere of social media. Similar to a traditional charrette, the creative experience is focused, intense, engaging and a means to quickly generate and share ideas. It’s also a proactive approach to building awareness for your work, share your professional interests and meet new people both in and outside the design world.
Do you think landscape architects and designers would benefit from doing a daily creative challenge?
Absolutely. I know that time is precious, but we can all shorten a couple meetings and find time each day to at least sketch and doodle. Such daily practice pays creative dividends; it exercises creativity, design thinking, graphic communication skills and ultimately feeds back into one’s overall design practice.
Jan 22: Glacial Gift Pack | Celebrate the glacial gifts of the Wiconsinan Ice Age. Dye rope to the color of your fancy and highlight six-pack of glacial boulders with a bit of festive gift-wrapping. Commence rock party.
Are there any specific landscape architects or land artists that influenced your designs for the landscape-proposal-per-day project?
The list is long, but a few of the biggest influences include Claude Cormier for his humor, Gary Hilderbrand for his power of abstraction and sensitivity to place, and Jon Piasecki for his reinterpretations of historic landscapes. The work is also influenced by the new breed of research-based think tank firms such as Interboro Partners and Atlas Lab.
From the land art side, I would have to cite Maya Lin for her conceptual creativity, Ian Hamilton Finlay for his playfulness and Walter De Maria for his ability to compel folks to think about their relationship to the earth. I’d also add some street artists such as KEMS and Haas & Hann for spurring my interest in integrating supergraphics into some of the landscape proposals.
Jan 21: Yes | Say, Yes. Yes to wetland protection. Yes to road trips. Yes to skinny dips. And yes to “yes” spelled out in coir cursive.
I can see some of these installations being used in other interventions, say Parking Day. Have you ever participated in Parking Day or other tactical urbanism projects?
I have contributed to Parking Day. I spearheaded a Parking Day installation in Pittsburgh as part Sasaki Associate’s outreach work on the Allegheny Riverfront Green Boulevard Project in 2012. I’m a big believer in tactical urbanism. For a relatively low investment you can produce provocative designs, test new ideas, and enable designers to interact with local communities.
Jan 24: Bastille Day Flag | Tidy up side-yard of the old Down East back-to-the-lander with the dozen spent VW vans. Provide ladder and seating for grassroots “Etat du Maine Bastille Day” fireworks night.
Your work will be featured in an exhibition that opens this Friday. Can you tell us about how you’ve prepared for it and what people can expect?
The exhibition is a group show for all Boston Fun-A-Day participants and takes place at Voltage Coffee and Art in Kendal Square, Cambridge, MA. The exhibition hosts an eclectic mix of creative folk ranging from urban planners to painters and includes a variety of media from pencil drawings to digital collage to silkscreen printing. Beyond the art, people can expect to meet a stunning community of creative individuals.
I’ll be exhibiting a dozen of my landscape-proposal drawings and will be on hand to discuss the work. Beyond discussing art and design, I’m interested in continuing the dialog about the role social media can play in our creative efforts. Everyone is welcome. It will be fun, I promise.
Jan 29: LARE Riddle | Fill in the blank.
Andrew called, he wants his _____________ back.
Jan 31: Cone Camp | Environmental education in woodland summer camp format. Camper favorites include: bow and arrow construction, tree identification, and seed bombing. Unlimited Space.
David Buckley Borden, is a landscape designer and artist living in Cambridge, Massachusetts. David is also the Emerging Professionals Event Producer for the Boston Society of Landscape Architects and the 2014 Trifecta Editions’ Artist-In-Residence.
Fun-A-Day Boston 2014
Art Show & Reception
Hosted by Voltage and Coffee & Art
Opening reception February 21st 7-9pm
Exhibition runs February 17th through April 5th.