Time for another self-serving post. Apologies.
I’ve written about my Monster a Day October in the past, but feel a need to share again. Because, honestly, I think this may have been my best year yet. Scratch that—it IS my best year yet.
As a brief description for those new to MaDO (that’s the swell new acronym I’m calling it now) and and a refresher for my fabulous fan base; during the month of October I create, completely from scratch, a monster every single day. It is my yearly, month-long exercise in creativity and discipline.
I’ve been doing it since 2011 with a couple of rough years in the middle where I didn’t do a whole month, and one year I skipped entirely. As you can imagine, I’ve created a pretty large stock pile of monsters. Not all of them are great, some of them are embarrassing, but some of them are, well, magnificent. Look, it’s true. I wouldn’t say it if it weren’t.
I always try and make the monsters evocative. I put them in situations or engage them with other creatures or characters to suggest some kind of story. I never know what the story is but am forever hoping something brilliant comes to me.
Others have also wondered when viewing the monsters, ‘what the Sam Hill is going on here?’ Good. I want them to speculate about the story. I turn the question on them—What do YOU think is happening? What do you think happened just before or just after the image. I want to evoke story. I want the viewer involved.
I post the day’s new image on Facebook and Instagram every day for the month. (Having this audience holds me accountable.) And then I wait for the likes, the comments, the suggestion of story. Viewers become engaged with my art, even if just for a moment. And this I love tremendously.
I’m a little obsessive about counting the likes…naturally, I want them all to be loved and adored. If I have a favorite, or one that I think is definitely going to be a hit, and it is only mildly appreciated, I might stew about it a bit. If others are wild about one that I thought was marginal, then I’ll analyze it a bit. There is so much to be learned by sharing work like this and listening to what viewers say.
At the end of the month, usually a week after the last post, I’ll tally the likes on all the images to see which ones are the most popular.
The most popular this year was number 18. My granddaughter, Ella’s birthday. But I believe that has more to do with Ella than the monster.
The second most popular was number 31, the final image, with me in it. Not particularly evocative, but kinda funny.
It’s the rankings of the images other than these two that count this year.
I spend anywhere from 3-6 hours every day in October creating a monster. Is it goofing off? Should I be working on a manuscript? Or a dummy? Maybe, but this is part of the process, too.
All 31 October monsters.