I have been troubled for a while about my “body” of work. In the past I would see other artists completing huge swaths of work with a similar visual style, or theme. They hang the show, every piece looks like it belongs with the next, the body of work is cohesive and massive! I was envious, these artists were staying on task, milking every ounce of inspiration out of an idea, and producing so many studies on the theme. While I worked in my studio bouncing from a portrait, to an abstract, to a bunch of trash… none looked like the other, I couldn’t stay motivated to produce multiple variations of a theme. My “body” made no sense!
I used to look at this as a failure, like I was some how not committed enough to the work. Then, a few weeks back I was getting ready to hang some work, and I lined up my paintings in a row, to prepare them for wiring. The most amazing thing happened… I finally got the big picture! Every painting was a brother or sister to the one next to it! I quickly began to rearrange the pieces in chronological order, and it got even better! I could finally look at all these paintings and see the “body” for what it was! Every painting borrowed from its predecessors, told some of the same story, but grew and became its own thing. Like looking at a family tree, you could still see the Great Grand-dad’s nose on the brand new little tykes.
I realized that my body of work was perhaps a bit different. It wasn’t 20 paintings of a foot, but a true body, a collections of different but complimentary and related bits. An elbow, a fist, a butt-crack, none seemed to look like another, but all were fed by the same blood, and connected by the same sinew. THAT is my body of work; Harmony in the Differences. Of course some pieces fit better with others, and some seem to have a cancer that will destroy them… but its my body, and I am proud of it.
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