Kait Creamer, art + ‘we are what we repeatedly do’

Developing the framework for thinking big, and acting on it

By Paul Hagey Nov 16 2018

Editor’s Note: We have collaborated with Ignite Boulder to share some stories from the Boulder nonprofit’s recent 10-year anniversary show at Chautauqua auditorium. Third up is a story of Kait Creamer, who decided to reactivate her passion for art with a 150-day portrait challenge.

We are what we do. That simple, sometimes uncomfortable reality provides a clear litmus test for who we are and who we may want to be.

Kait Creamer, 27, decided to face that test head on in 2017.

At that time, she considered herself a wife, email marketer, tuba-player and dog mom, but felt something was missing. She had a latent urge to do “real” art, but that itch, last really scratched in high school in a drawing class, had not been fully addressed in nearly a decade.

Kait Creamer

So in early 2017, she planned the 100 Faces Project — she would draw 100 portraits of 100 random Facebook friends over 150 days. Each portrait would be done in one sitting and she would share each portrait to Facebook, and tag the unsuspecting portrait subject, when completed.

The rules:

  • She selected 100 Facebook friends and put them into a random order
  • She had to follow the order
  • Portraits had to be done in one sitting
  • She had to post the finished portrait to Facebook
  • She had to finish the whole project by Aug. 3, 2017.

She began on March 7, 2017, with an end date of Aug. 3, 2017.

One of the portraits Kait did during her 100 Faces Project.

Project seeds

The seeds of the project took root in 2014 during an eight-month trip Kait and her husband took to New Zealand. On that trip, they volunteered on farms through the international organization World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF), which coordinates visits to small organic farms where visitors trade manual labor for room and board.

One of the farms they visited was owned by Chris White, a former wilderness guide in his mid-60s who lived in a remote cabin on New Zealand’s south island. The cabin had no electricity, no refrigerator and enjoyed light from solar lightbulbs. They stayed there for two weeks in the winter.

New Zealand cabin where Kait rekindled her passion for drawing.

Given that it was a small farm in winter, there was also not much pressing work. Kait began drawing in her free time. “Everyday we would make bread on a fire and sit around with tea and draw,” Kait says.

Chris noticed her passion for drawing and told her that instead of doing any physical work, she should draw a portrait of him.

She accepted the challenge. So one day she spent eight hours drawing Chris — the first time she drew something totally freehand. When she finished, she was proud of the result.

Photo of Chris White sitting on his front porch, where Kait, her hubby and Chris would spend all morning drinking tea and eating homemade bread before she spent the day drawing. Kait’s portrait of Chris (right).

Fast-forward a few years, she picked up a copy of “The Happiness of Pursuit” at the Boulder Book Store. Kait did not immediately recognize the impact of the 2014-published book that chronicles how achievers from around the world approach their big goals when reading it.

But something had soaked into her morrow. The thought “there’s no reason I couldn’t do an amazing thing” emerged and blossomed into the 100 Faces Project.

The result

When Kait first started the 100 Faces Project, portraits took 45 minutes, but as she settled into a rhythm and began refining her technique, they began taking longer — several hours each.

As any adult working full-time knows, working two to three hours on an energy-intensive project on a work day is a significant time investment. If that investment occurs multiple times per week, life changes big time.

Kait’s drawing utensils and a 2018 cow portrait.

Kait kept the commitment she made to herself, which meant cooking sputtered, friend hangouts all but ended and home sweatpants became standard. She also realized the sky-high intensity of her project’s ambition — 300 intense overtime hours over 150 days.

She completed the project and, like any huge commitment, learned some valuable lessons and gained confidence. One of them being, “If you set up a framework for success, you can do anything.”

Kait also has found the freedom in discipline — “If there’s a thing I want to do, I make time for it and just do it.” It’s simply a matter of prioritization and execution, she says.

She continues her full-time job as an email marketer at a music software company and loves it. Now defining herself as an adventure-enthusiast and lifelong-learner, Kait’s next goals include giving a TED talk and inspiring others to accomplish their own huge goals.

Paul Hagey

Paul Hagey is BLDRfly’s founder and editor. When not wrangling video, audio and words in the name of story, he’s riding his mountain bike, trail running and hanging with his awesome wife Jen and their young daughter. paul@bldrfly.com