Tuesday, 10 January 2012
An old obsession
I went to my studio today for the first time in a while. Before Christmas I brought a load of boxes here from our old house and then delivered a stack of folios and so on, delivered to our new house from storage.
I had intended to get on with some writing, but made the fatal mistake of opening the folios. I had not seen any of this work for five years, but some of it had been in drawers and folios for a lot longer than that.
Before we left Norfolk for Cambridge I had periodic burnings of artwork. My wife would get upset at this, but there was no way I could keep all of the work I generated at The Economist and The Independent. A lot of it wasn't very good, to be honest. It was done to such tight deadlines and to such specific briefs that although I could take pride in having delivered something, the result was not something I wanted to live with. I didn't want to be the curator of some kind of archive of me.
Besides there is something cathartic about such destruction. I have always believed I have better work ahead of me. When I stop believing that I will stop creating.
The problem with destroying work is that perceptions change. What seemed valuable can seem worthless a few years down the line. The reverse is clearly also true. I just have to hope I didn't destroy anything I wouldn't destroy today. I'm pretty sure I didn't. I'll never know in any case so why worry?
I am pleased I have hung on to this drawing though. I must have been about sixteen when I did it, maybe younger, but certainly no older. It is an illustration to Frankenstein and it shows an early eagerness to counter the cinematic image of the creature.
Mister Creecher was being formed in those ink marks.