The Evolution of “Right”
An artist makes a lot of mistakes in the process of creating a piece. You try something, it doesn’t work, so you try something else. So it goes until you feel you’ve accomplished what you were trying to achieve (or you reach a fairly close approximation of what you were trying to achieve).
As viewers, when we see the final product of someone’s creative labours, we don’t often think about the process: How many drafts did it take to get that outstanding chapter in that novel? How many canvases were painted and discarded before that stunning art exhibit was hung? How many times were stitches unraveled to design that amazing knitted sweater?
In some artistic processes, the evolution is invisible; when you repaint over parts of a canvas, the history of the piece is forever hidden, embedded in the work. In the type of 3-D work I make, the evolution of a piece produces evidence.
For every finished sculpture I create there are often numerous elements that I make multiple times, finely tuning one aspect or another until it’s “right”. For some reason, I never have the heart to physically throw away these misfit elements as soon as I discard them. Even though I know I’ll never use them I keep them for a while, a collection of temporary reliquaries, in their own dedicated container. I thought it might be fun to take you on a tour of gems from the current discard bin.
Let’s begin with the evolution of the grey wool suit pants I was crafting for the wolf figure in Chestnut Complex.
[CONFESSION: In the end, to make sure I got the perfect match for Chestnut Complex, I bought 10 separate metres of grey Italian wool suiting in various tones and weaves. Not to worry though, nothing goes to waste in this studio…I feel a piece featuring multiple grey suits percolating 😉]
Also belonging to the process of Chestnut Complex are these mostly unfinished tuxedo t-shirts.
At the bottom of the bin were a couple of rejects from Favourite Ways With Pheasant – Lilliputian lingerie that didn’t make the cut. These lovelies managed to escape the last couple of purges, and actually date back to 2005.
So, there you have it, a little behind-the-scenes collection of errors on the evolutionary journey to “right”. I’m sure my sharing these with you IN NO WAY makes you think I’m obsessive.
And you? Do you obsessively keep your creative rejects? Or do you discard them immediately? No judgment if you’re the type of person who hordes the “fails”! Please share your temporary reliquaries in the comments below.
I love, love, love these items all on their own. So fun to see their evolution.
You could decide never to throw any of them away and then reconfigure them into something new (e.g. Ten Years of Rejected Works Reconfigured as a One Metre Cube 2010/2012:
Ha ha! Yes, except I work so small and so slowly that my ten years of rejected work would only make a foot square cube 😉
I enjoyed that, Tzaddi, thanks for sharing.