Just over a year ago, a local artist was unsure of her future in the art scene.
After completing her Art Diploma in 2009 from Stratford Career Institute, Daryl Januszewski was finding it difficult to express her creativity and share her art with the community.
Januszewski then received a book from the Red Deer Public Library which suggested multiple art projects.
Completing these projects lead to Januszewski creating her own blog and year-long art project Kawaii365. Kawaii is defined as the quality of being cute, or items that are cute.
“I wanted to do something that people can see, so I started making little things and leaving them in public places around the City. I started to hear back from people on facebook and Instagram saying, ‘These are really neat’,” she said.
Januszewski grew up with an interest in Japanese anime, which made creating 365 Kawaii art projects for every day of the year even more exciting.
“I really went for it and kept drawing cute things,” she said.
“The very first one I did, I drew a face on a cup of coffee and then I started this whole blog around it. I wanted to share it with my friends and family on facebook.”
As more people responded to her blogs and art projects, Januszewski was able to overcome her tendency to be shy in public settings.
“I think it is really important for artists to expand their horizons and try new things,” she said.
“I am shy by nature but I force myself to go out there to try new things and I am glad. It is important to me as an artist and a person because I think that here in Red Deer everyone is very inclusive and very friendly and I think it is important to keep that social aspect.”
Being able to connect a community through art is something that motivates Januszewski to continue to create.
“If I can motivate people to get out there and meet new people at the MAG or downtown and help connect and network – I think it will really expand our arts community and keep our City friendly overall,” she explained. “It has expanded my horizons and has gotten me out of my comfort zone.”
Januszewski said she will not continue to create projects everyday since the project is over, however she will keep up with her blog kawaii365.blogspot.ca.
She also intends to sell her art and colouring sheets at the Red Deer Farmers’ Market.
“It is important for me to be smiling and happy,” she said. “It was important for me to do this Kawaii project, because smiling faces make people happy.”
Januszewski hopes her project can be an example for those looking to spark their creativity.
“I am shy by nature and I know that there are others who are as well,” she said.
“They have dreams but they may not follow them. I encourage them to try it. It feels really good to be appreciated for the effort I put into it.”