Hello there you! Here you will find stuff about living a creative life in country Australia. I am an illustrator who also creates, takes photos, faffs, teaches & hosts workshops. Watercolour, collage, colour, cheese, salads, travel, collecting, & dreaming make me ridiculously happy. And gardening. And op-shops. And art supplies. And the word serendipity. And you reading this. Oh and so you know, all the art & photos you see on here are done by me!

Monday, 19 February 2018

WHERE DOES ALL THE BAD ART GO?

WHERE DOES ALL THE BAD ART GO?

 ssshhhhhh...

It is there. Lurking on shelves, in drawers, behind doors, in folders. Sometimes on walls. It sucks in your time, your precious art materials and energy. It is hiding and yet you know it is there....

It is the FAILURES. The mistakes. The ones never mentioned, never shown on social media. SSSHHHHH....

The things that did not work out. The BAD ART. The ones that make you groan. The ones that make you weep. The ones you had such huge high hopes for, but gave you nothing but immense grief because those hopes were dashed. The shame!

I have SO MANY bad artworks. I have so many folders labelled B-GRADE ART, that will never be seen by the public. I feel guilty about all the paint and paper these things represent. And the canvas. And the pastels, and inks, and pencils, and collage materials. 

What do I do with them? I am loathe to throw them away because of the pre - mentioned materials, time and energy they represent. Do I sell them cheaply - but no, because I do want my name associated with them! My daughter said I should give them to family and friends! But no, I do not want to do that. Poor family and friends, they do not need to be burdened with my crap!

I know many other creatives keep their bad art, so they can see how they have progressed. That seems reasonable, but do you keep EVERYTHING? How do you decide what to edit?

So really, where does all that BAD ART go?


I know that through the ages, many artists have flung  away, burned, painted over and destroyed art they did not like. To preserve a standard they perceived for themselves.

I know that op-shops, auctions and tip shops, are full of BAD ART, that has been no longer considered eligible for hanging in a home, no longer cutting the mustard. No longer worthwhile. 

Could we have exhibitions of FAILED ART? of the kitsch, of the badly proportioned, the unbalanced, the ugly, the messy, the boring, the contrived? The massed produced? And sell it? Give it away?

And what is bad art anyway? Who judges it? It is so subjective! One person may love three weirdly painted dancing dolphins in the moonlight, another might detest it. How do we asses if it is a failure or success as a creative piece?


Hmmmm. For my own art, I just know when it sux. It is a feeling. 

And then... I know I cut up a lot of my failed art, and repurpose it when I collage. I cut stuff up for sketchbooks. I paint over. I try to upcycle and recycle. I sometimes put art aside , and try to come back to it with fresh eyes later. I try to problem solve it. I try to not get to pissed off. But I do!

repurposed cut up artwork

And I read about how playing and failure is part of learning. How everyone makes big mistakes, and leaves a trail of BAD ART behind them. So I get it, I know it is part of creating. So I am okay with that. But is still brings me back to... 

WHAT TO DO WITH IT ALL?!

What do you do with it? Your creative misadventures? Do you stash? Cull? Cry? Do you have any suggestions? Go on, tell me! And if you have some bad art to share, GO AHEAD! Maybe I might like it... maybe we could swap!


sketchbook with cut up artwork