At the time of speaking, Mandiberg was some 50 hours into the project. “I find that this kind of work, I can’t do for more than five hours at a time, because it requires such physical and mental concentration—and I am learning, right?” they said, nodding to the exhausting process of painting while observing and critiquing their technique.
Mandiberg will inevitably improve as a painter over the course of the project. But it’s uncertain how long that it all will take—they suggested it could be as many as 5,000 hours. This uncertainty is also reflective of how artists work, and the many projects, commitments, and administrative work they juggle.
“I’m okay with not knowing the exact parameters going into it, just knowing that it’s going to be significant,” Mandiberg reflected. “I’m not intimidated by saying I’m going to spend the next five years working on this project if that’s what it takes. That’s what I do. That’s the way that I’ve learned how to work.”