About three years ago I was on a train heading home and, for lack of a better term, I was on a theatre high. The night before, I had seen a show that was a hybrid theatre/dance production, and the experience had been breathtaking. The show was gorgeous, beautiful, and exquisite. It was an extraordinary work of art, and as I looked out the train window, I wished I could go to the theatre every day.
Later that night, after arriving home, I went to a stand up comedy night with some friends. The last performance of the night was a combination of stand up, physical, and sketch comedy, and it was… let’s just say interesting. It was a performance that was nowhere near as professional and polished as the show I had seen the night before. Frankly, it was debatable whether or not it was even successful as a piece of comedy, but for me, that wasn’t the point. I loved it. Specifically, I loved the experience of watching it. And that’s when the idea for this project first took hold.
You see, in that moment, I realized that there is nothing I love more in this world than art. Specifically, the experience of consuming art, in all its forms. Books, movies, theatre, paintings, it doesn’t matter. And it doesn’t matter how professional or experienced the artist may or may not be. These creators put their work into the world to entertain us, to challenge us, to educate us, and I consider it a privilege to take the time to listen, watch, and hear what they have to say. Three years ago I experienced two completely different works of art, but the result was the same. I was ridiculously happy while doing so. And that’s when I had a thought. If consuming art makes me so happy, why not commit to experiencing a new work of art every day? It sounded great in theory, but I never took the idea any further, mostly because I didn’t want to start something and not follow through. And then 2020 hit.
Now, I like to think of myself as a glass half full type of person, but this absolute dumpster fire of year has certainly tested the limits of my optimism. It’s also reminded me that life is short, and if there’s something you want to do or accomplish, you might as well start now, because tomorrow is never guaranteed. Three years after the idea first popped into my head, I’m finally ready to commit, because if there’s ever a year that needs more happiness and joy, it’s 2020.
So welcome to the Daily Hart. I decided on the name the Daily Hart because this project is a daily helping of art. Art that enriches my own heart, and I hope others as well. I’m committing myself to a year long challenge, during which I will experience one piece of art every day. I will then write about that experience and share it with others. To be clear, I’m not going to write reviews, because the last thing this world needs right now is more negativity. Instead, I’m going to focus on the experience of consuming the artwork, and what I’m learning from these new artists. That being said, I have a hard time not shouting about the things I love, so I expect there to be a fair amount of that going on as well.
While thinking about how this would all go down, I decided that I needed to set some guidelines to help give me some structure for this challenge. These rules are completely self-imposed, but my stupid brain likes rules, so here we go:
One piece of art per day. No stocking up by viewing a week’s worth in one day. If I happen to experience multiple artworks in a day, I’ll write about my favourite.
All artists must be new to me. It’s okay if I’ve already heard of them, but to qualify for the challenge, it must be my first time experiencing their art. I want to use the Daily Hart as an opportunity to discover new voices and talents.
No repetitions. Once I’ve written about an artist, I can’t experience one of their other works for this challenge. The goal is to experience 365 new voices.
Repetitions are allowed within a production company/distributor, so long as the artists/creators are new to me. For example, I’m allowed to listen to multiple musicians from the same record label.
Every day, I must consume a complete work of art. This means I can’t just read a book for five minutes and call it a day. For it to count, I have to finish the work of art. I have to read the whole book, watch the whole movie, and listen to the whole song. For serialized artworks, such as television shows and podcasts, I have to complete one full episode.
No artwork by straight, white, men. No disrespect to all of the brilliant, straight, white, male creators out there, but I’ve been consuming your stories my whole life. I want to experience something new.
The last piece of this challenge will be to chronicle this year on social media. Fair warning, I’m TERRIBLE at social media, so I’m using this as an opportunity to get better at it. This means that if you’re looking for a beautifully curated Instagram feed, all I can say is… please bear with me. But posting about my progress is going to help hold me accountable to this challenge, so you can follow the Daily Hart on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. If you prefer to have your daily helpings of art sent directly to your inbox, you can sign up below.
And if you do decide to follow along, thank you for joining me on this journey. At the end of the day, art makes me happy, and even if it’s just for three minutes a day to listen to a new song, I want to inject more happiness into a year that’s been filled with so much fear and uncertainty. I hope the Daily Hart will inspire you to seek out more art in your life. At the very least, I hope I can provide you with some entertaining stories of my progress throughout the coming year, and help make this year just a little bit more joyful. For myself, that joy comes through art. Wherever you find your joy, I hope you find lots of it in the coming year as well.