Tanner Almon's MyDailyJournalThing: Artist's Daily Doodles Draw Big Acclaim
Tanner Almon is everywhere.
The Brooklyn-based artist-cum-tumblr-celebrity's most prominent blog, mydailyjournalthing features a daily scan of Almon's to-do list and doodling, but that's only one of his sites.
There's the now-defunct My Mom Reviews My Photos (self-explanatory), Poems About My Photos (also named literally), iPhoneosaurusrex (his daily photo blog), Tanner Blog (yup, that would be Tanner's blog).
Oh, and there's his online portfolio of photography and film.
HuffPost Arts recently caught up with the artist on his lunch break. Read a complete transcript of our Google Chat conversation below, then take a glance at some of our favorite selections from MyDailyJournalThing.
HuffPost Arts: Alrighty, ready?
Almon: Sure, I'll do my best. If everything I say is worthless I apologize!
HuffPost Arts: No worries -- what are you eating for lunch?
Almon: Chicken teriyaki, same thing as yesterday, and the day before that, and the day before that ...
HuffPost Arts: It's better than a sandwich. So when did you start MyDailyJournalThing?
Almon: In June last year, so June of 2011.
HuffPost Arts: Have you missed any days?
Almon: Unfortunately I've missed a bunch of days. I was really on it every day up until September, but then I started a new job and got my wife pregnant, so I was kind of stressed out and made it less of a priority. Only recently have I really gotten back into it as an everyday thing. I hope to keep it up, at least until the baby is born.
HuffPost Arts: Congrats on the child-to-be -- we're assuming Vicki knows about the project?
Almon: Yep, she's actually a big part of it whether she likes it or not. She's mentioned nearly every day on my to-do list, and I draw her alter-ego Bunko the Brave quite a bit as well.
HuffPost Arts: And yet, no flowers?
Almon: Haha!!! Yeah, but she got the baby, so I think we're even. But she still deserves at some point to get the flowers I meant to get her on our wedding anniversary in October.
HuffPost Arts: October! C'mon man. Maybe we can send her some from the office. Is the party switch in one of your drawings an homage to the party switch in Parks and Recreation?
Almon: No, but I LOVE Parks and Recreation. I drew that because me and Vicki were on a dry spell in terms of parties.
HuffPost Arts: So tell me a bit more about yourself (now this feels like we're online dating). What do you do for a living and how old are you?
Almon: Haha. I shoot and edit How To videos for the web for Howcast.* And although you probably think I'm ten years old, I'm actually 32.
HuffPost Arts: Do you have any plans for the journal, in terms of adapting to animation or film?
Almon: Yeah, I believe we are working on getting something going with you guys. I sit next to one of our people who deal with that kind of thing. Small world. Vicki and I have been talking forever about doing a web series. Well mostly me, but she sometimes nods her head. So a lot of times it's ideas that I think would be funny on video, and hope to shoot one day.
HuffPost Arts: And how long would you say you spend on each of the drawings?
Almon: It varies, but on average I write my "to do" list, if you want to call it that, as I eat breakfast. And then on average about 15 minutes per drawing, but there are a few times I've really been inspired and spent over an hour. This took a while.
HuffPost Arts: Reminds me of fruit roll-up
Almon: And I still missed a bunch of spots in that sky, haha. This took the longest I think.
HuffPost Arts: That one's great.
Almon: This was the shortest
HuffPost Arts: How many Moleskine's have you gone through?
Almon: I have a few pages left in the first one. Funny sidenote, I accidently did my first drawing on the last page of the Moleskine, so I've been working backwards the entire time. I guess that's not really funny.
HuffPost Arts: Very Persian of you (Farsi's written from right to left). Do you think that writing all these to-do lists has any psychological affect on you? Is it soothing to have a list, or perhaps depressing if lots of boxes are left unchecked?
Almon: Haha, that's how i should explain it from now on. I definitely don't think it's depressing. Honestly, I usually know when I write something whether or not I'll actually get to it. I just think it's a fun little archive to have. Everything is typed nowadays, i like how handmade it is. It'd be cool to give my kid one day. I really like how when I scan it you can see the previous days' drawing through the paper. A few folks have asked why I don't use a Moleskine with nicer paper, and that's why, I like how bad it looks.
HuffPost Arts: It sort of reminds one of how each day is new but they still bleed into the next… whether you're tired or hungover or upset about an argument.
HuffPost Arts: You have a lot of different projects on your website, what are you most passionate about? Photography or film?
Almon: I don't know anymore. Film is where I started (at least it's what I went to school for), but once I graduated and had no money I started taking photos and I really like that now too. Tumblr's cool because I realized I really like writing off the wall stories and poems about my photos, if you look at tannerblog.com. So I don't know, I really just like telling the stories in my head, it doesn't really matter anymore if it's photo or video or just written in a journal.
HuffPost Arts: And you have the iPhone blog too.
Almon: Yeah, that blog looks pretentious as hell, but it's fun to try to take a picture a day, since my iPhone makes that so damn easy to do.
HuffPost Arts: Yeah, that's true. I should know this, but I don't. How many people follow your assorted sites?
Almon: mydailyjournalthing has over 20,000 now, but that's only because tumblr was cool and put it on their artists' spotlight page. tannerblog had around 3,500, and that's mostly spillover from my first tumblr, mymomreviewsmyphotos.com, which tumblr listed as one of their "Tumblr Tuesday" picks way back when. So tumblr has been very kind to me. The 20,000 thing is absurd if you ask me, I think maybe 100 people actually look at my journal entries, if it's even that many.
HuffPost Arts: Well that's the beauty of tumblr, they see it and can bring it up at cocktail parties, if they go to those, even if they never click. We just got our own tumblr going. It seems like one thing you hold sacred is imagination and creation -- what other things would you say keep you grounded or of vital importance to you?
Almon: Yeah, you nailed it man. Those are my two big things. Other than that it's just having a sense of humor and working hard. As dumb as my journal is, I do actually put a lot of thought into it.
HuffPost Arts: We don't think it's dumb! Anything else you want us or our dear readers to know?
Almon: Haha, apparently not. My mom would likely disagree. I don't know, it'd be cool if you let them know I also do photo and film stuff? If you could mention Vicki that would be awesome, and if possible, my mom.
HuffPost Arts: What's your mother's name?
Almon: PAM!!!! She's actually in my most recent Howcast video.My mom doesn't know what tumblr is but she definitely knows what The Huffington Post is, she sends me links all the time. So this will add a bit of legitimacy to my "art."
HuffPost Arts: We're all trying to be legitimate in the eyes of our mothers at the end of the day, so glad we could help.
Enjoy the chicken terriyaki and have a good rest of your day! We'll send you the link when it's up.
Almon: If you are going to publish this, please let it be known that Vicki is a rockstar and will get flowers soon!
Tanner, get Vicki the flowers.
*(Editor's Note: HuffPost's parent company owns 5min, which is a content partner with Howcast and distributes Howcast video across the 5Min network. Rest assured, this connection did not influence our decision to interview Almon.)
See some examples of Almon's work in the slideshow below: