On May 9, Brandon Roth embarked on a month-long journey that required him to stay put at his Barrio Logan studio (1878 Main St.), completing one painting each day, every day, until he had 30. The designer—whose sculpture that was formerly part of the Urban Trees public-art project now adorns The Roots Factory courtyard just outside his workspace—got serious about painting three years ago and, this past year, has worked full time as an artist. Roth forced even more upon himself with his 30 Paintings in 30 Days project: Besides painting upwards of 10 hours every day to stay on schedule, he chronicled the process of each work on his blog, posting pictures of it in stages, revealing both his inspirations and techniques.
The blog is informative and funny, but it's Day 25 where the project reaches a turning point: Roth's first-ever urban-landscape painting inspired him to build upon it in Days 26 and 27, forming a panorama of an alley way, with a warehouse that's tagged by Roth's street-artist friend, Pandemic.
"This is it for me," he wrote on Day 27, explaining that he'd found a new direction to take his artwork.
He created in an outpour until something resonated, and Roth's so pleased with his 30 works that he's opening up his studio for its first-ever show at 6 p.m. Friday, July 6.
"I wanted the project to push my limitations and comfort levels," he says. Spontaneity and instinct, it turned out, would help him create something that's unique in San Diego. "I knew I had to think bigger if I wanted to make an impact on the art community."
That posed its challenges, including paying less attention to individual paintings and having to consider the entirety of the work instead. Writing every day was also unusual, but Roth felt that by documenting his learning process, he'd be teaching other artists something.
In his stream-of-consciousness paintings, you can see creative patterns take flight, then veer in another direction as he took various materials—such as wood panels, record sleeves and canvas—and layered them with spray paint or stain before painting the main objects with oils or acrylics. His subject matter included people, animals and landscapes, and almost all of the works have a dripping-paint element to them.
"I like to keep them that way, to embrace the mistakes," he says. It lends an eerie quality, particularly in Day 28's "Torment," in which a corpse-like figure seemingly melts against a dismal background. "This was a lot of fun and not nearly as bad as I could have imagined," he concluded on Day 30. "I would say that if you plan to do a project like this, I applaud you."