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A. J. Fries: A painting a day

A year’s worth of daily encounters—all in one gallery

All the paintings in the show are 4” x 6” and are signed with the day each was painted

Images courtesy of the artist


The 365 Show is on view January 5–19, at Main Street Gallery, 515 Main Street, Buffalo. An opening reception happens at 6 p.m., January 5. Visit ajfriesprintshop.com for more information.


It is a project made for Instagram. Since January 1, 2018, painter A. J. Fries—who’s fresh off a well-received show featuring his depictions of Fisher Price’s Little People—has been finding time each day to make a small painting of whatever has captured his fancy. This won’t come as a surprise to his many social media followers, who have been clicking “like” every time a new image appears. There is delightful variety, demonstrating, as Fries has always done, that no subject is too ordinary to be painted with his distinctive combination of precision and brio.


Fries’ 365 subjects include: a Dum Dum pop, a squirrel with a nut, a crow, a hot dog with mustard, a Mylar balloon, a piece of buttered toast, a bullet, a Tide POD, a silver teapot, a Cheeto—and 355 more, including those that had not yet been painted when Spree went to press in early December.



How difficult did this endeavor get as the weeks of 2018 dragged on? Were there days when making a painting just seemed impossible? The painter found it demanding and rewarding at the same time. “This project challenged me to become focused and to create a rigid schedule, which is not how I typically work,” says Fries. “The struggle was definitely in keeping up with the work every day, finding images that I could paint within an hour and a half to two hours, and to get up and paint early in the morning before I went to the studio. However, a surprising upside is that I found it very motivating to start and finish a work in one sitting—typically, my paintings take weeks and months.  I loved the idea that I could look around a room and paint what was in front of me, drawing on my daily life for daily paintings. But I’ll be happy when December 31 is here.”


Want to know what Fries painted on your birthday, your anniversary, or the day the Bills beat the Jets? Show up at the Main Street Gallery, but be aware: the show has a limited run and quite a few fans have already called social media “dibs” on many of these modestly priced works. The first few minutes of the opening could be a bit of a mob scene.     


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