Normally I would talk about “the creative process,” but for my 2015 solo show DARKNESS I decided creation alone would not be sufficient. To properly illustrate the timeless poem Darkness by Lord Byron, which chillingly and effectively describes the end of all life on Earth, a LOT of destruction would be needed as well. Below are Before and After shots of the art and books that were destroyed (or transformed) in the process of creating this show. Feel free to check them out, then read on to see what I learned from the show.
Traditional canvases destroyed:
More DARKNESS pieces and some of the digital work destroyed to make them:
So now that you’ve seen some (by no means all) of the destruction involved, I’ll go into my reasoning a little more.
I decided to destroy three things in particular: old traditional (irreplaceable) pieces of mine from a different time in my life, newer “popular” or “well-received” digital pieces I have made during my professional art career, and lastly university textbooks which had formerly be used to pass on knowledge. Thus the art in the show was created by destroying memories of the past, life achievements, and human knowledge. [Being a book-lover, I used outdated technology textbooks that could no longer be relied upon.] By destroying parts of my life, I wanted to echo the progress of the poem in which all human achievement, and ultimately humanity itself, is obliterated at the end.
This may sound pretty down beat! I initially thought of this as a depressing show. I was wrong however; destroying pieces of my art and old textbooks turned out to be a transformative process. In the end…I had left a blank slate within myself with room for something entirely new to be created. I had often heard that destruction is sometimes needed to pave the way for new things (new ideas, new courses of action, and so on), but I didn’t fully realize the truth in that statement until I did this show. Going forward, as I continue to encounter change and loss in my life as a human, I hope I can remember this feeling.
If you’re not familiar with some of the comics and other publications I mentioned using, here are some links for you to explore: