Originally from Newfoundland, but living in New York, artist Tara Jane Feener found herself acutely aware of the things she missed about home, and desperate to start doing something creative every day. These impulses went hand in hand, and then viral online.
As of May 1st, she’s roughly a quarter of the way through illustrating and describing 100 people, places, or things that make our island what it is, and her personal project is resonating with everyone who stumbles on it. Things she’s singled out so far have included The Goobies’ Moose, the Bannerman Park Loop, Pineapple Crush, Fixed Coffee, MightyPop and, well, we’re proud to say, The Overcast. “About five years ago,” she says, “I was living in San Francisco and spoke to some friends from Newfoundland who were living in the bay area about wanting to do some kind of illustrated/web experience called ‘This is Newfoundland.’ We found ourselves constantly giving the Newfoundland sell to our new American friends. Over time as I shared stories, I found they became totally fascinated with Newfoundland’s unique culture and history and their perspectives completely changed and they wanted to visit, like, immediately.” The conversations, she found, changed her own perspective on Newfoundland.
Concurrent to these conversations, a design and creative magazine, The Great Discontent, had started a global-scale phenomenon of encouraging people to do a 100-day creative project, be it write a song, or share a photograph every day. She heard of the challenge via a friend of hers who was drawing a daily Nicholas Cage. “Yes,” she says. “100 ‘Cages!”
It felt like the perfect way to share Newfoundland with the world. “I feel like creative exercising is underrated. We put a large emphasis on physical exercise which I truly believe is absolutely necessary, but never exercise of the mind. In illustrating 100 days of Newfoundland I’m ultimately connecting with home, which brings me to community. I don’t think I was expecting community to be such a big part of the project, but from the first illustration I shared, it became immediately obvious to me that this project wasn’t just for me … it’s for all of us.” She’s referring to public reaction to her illustrations and write-ups
from friends and strangers alike.
In terms of settling on what to draw every day, she’s been following her gut. “drawing the last idea I think of the night before I go to bed, or what I feel most passionately about when I wake up in the morning. Today, I woke up feeling nostalgic for Mallard Cottage’s brunch and specifically … cake table. So I decided to go with that.”
100 images of our island might seem daunting to some, but Feener feels it won’t be a problem to complete the project. “Actually, I‘m more fearful of the opposite happening: How am I going to create the number of things I want to create to do Newfoundland justice within a limit of 100 days? It truly is overwhelming how many unique cultural and historical ideas you can draw about Newfoundland. When I drew L’Anse aux Meadows on day one, I certainly never imagined I’d have this little unique collection of illustrations I have today. Which is the whole point of the project … we have something special here and you don’t have to live away from home or be foreign to the province to understand it. I’m hoping by the time the project ends we have a hundred illustrations to help remind ourselves and celebrate why we call Newfoundland home.”