[I NEED TO UPDATE THIS...]
My name is Adam Toht and I am an artist and director living and working in Brooklyn, NY. [MPLS NOW]
You can find my work as a director and artist at:
The process to create the work in the galleries on this site started Black Friday 2012 when I made the decision to try and draw a completed image every day.
I grew up in a small town in Illinois (Sycamore Pop. 12,000) and spent much of my time in my head drawing non stop. It was something I was good at. I went to art school, drew and drew and drew, painted, made ornate, detailed, drawn-and-painted collages and ended up working as a storyboard artist after college ended (most notably on Requiem for a Dream). But as years passed and I began designing and directing short films, commercials and music videos my drawing became lazier and lazier and more and more utilitarian. Soon I was the only person who could make out what was happening in my sketches and storyboards. And I was fine with my diminished skills for a while. But then in recent years I started seeing more and more work that was incredibly inspiring, reading graphic novels, seeing people's drawings online- I was reminded of this whole world of people out there, working simply, sitting down with pencil, pen and paper and creating amazing work- by hand and on their own!
This was huge. For me, spending your life collaborating with people is a blessing and a curse, largely a blessing as I love my collaborators, love the filmmaking and design process and love showing up every day to work with talented, nice people and making fun and beautiful stuff. But the time, money, and politics of the process can really smother projects that are not as "financially practical"- which sucks. Sometimes I just want to make what I want to make and not care if people want to pay for it (or have to pay for it myself). So, in the midst of struggling with the reality of the filmmaking process and seeing all this amazing, inspiring drawn work, I thought- "hey, I can draw (or at least I used to be able to draw) and there are a million ways to execute an idea, and wouldn't it be amazing to be able to use drawing to create some of these ideas?" So, I decided to draw every day "for a while", post the drawings, and see what comes of it (you can see almost all the drawings on my Daily Drawings tumblr page).
So for the first hundred days I bumbled around, drawing whatever I wanted and struggling. Each drawing took between two and four hours and posed unique problems. But I got better. Then a series started to form. I started imagining a kind of alternate future and day after day I drew the structures and vehicles in this world. It was awesome. Some of the drawings were not so great- but some of them I absolutely loved. My skills were returning and I loved the fact that every day I spent this time quietly making whatever I wanted to.
So at the end of 100 days I took seven days off and thought about what the point of this whole process was. Was I doing this simply to run a kind of drawing marathon? No. Was I doing this to be able to draw "perfectly"? No. Was I was doing this so I might be able to create and work on certain projects that I can't afford to work on normally? Yes!
I want to do this to make work that is entirely independent and personal. So at that point I knew what I needed to do next. I needed to step further outside my comfort zone and improve my drawing skills in order to be able to capture locations, people, atmosphere, mood, day, night, etc. at a certain level. And what would be the best way to attain these skills? Learning through imitation (or replication- or something). I realized that in my first 100 days, my ability had come up to a certain level, but much of my effort was spent conceiving and designing these vehicles and structures, so, for the second leg of this project I have largely removed that process. I searched through archives of images and found around 6,000 images that had elements I'd like to be able to capture. Many of these images have to do with certain time periods, architectural elements and subject matter that I intend to pursue on projects in the future, and each day (for 31 days as I write this) I pick an image and try to capture what is exciting (for me) about it. And that's where I'm at now.
My current plan is, in another 69 days (when I hit 200) to begin one of the projects I've been dying to do- but I guess I'll see where I'm at at that point.
If you've read this far, thanks for taking an interest, this has really been an immensely gratifying pursuit.
Photo by Ben Toht, Los Angeles 2013