Monday, 9 January 2012

Out with the old!




Some of my MFA drawings, from 1993. That's right. For nearly 20 years I've been lugging these huge pieces of glass and wood from house to house, stashing them behind wardrobes and bookshelves, and having them somehow clogging up a part of my mind.

Perhaps if I'd had them out in the open it wouldn't have been so bad, but they're far too big for a small room, and far too heavy for the 100-year-old walls of the bigger places I've lived in.

At first I kept them because that's what you're supposed to do. Eventually I was keeping them because, well, they're too big for the bin.

They were important drawings: the result of a blinding flash of insight after years of stuffing around with an art degree, trying to figure out what it was that I was supposed to be getting right. In the space of about a month I realised that no-one takes care of you but yourself, that the only way to get any work done is to take it seriously, that getting enough sleep is important and afternoon naps are not sinful, that eating vegetables and rice instead of bread is a good idea, that picking up after yourself makes it easier to get around your room, that if anyone doubts your work you should simply carry on with it till they're convinced or shut up, and that starting a drawing without caring how it will end up is pretty exciting. I started drawing.

I did them quickly, one a week. I worked on my bedroom floor, so they got stepped on and tripped over. One was ruined when I fell over it; I simply drew it again, better. They were funny, and fun to do. They were completely different from anything I'd done before. I had no idea whether they were any good, yet also knew that they were the best things I'd ever done

But after I finished studying, they seemed to acquire a seriousness. They became the best things I'd ever done... years ago. They became precious, and made me feel sad and guilty whenever I found one lurking behind a bookshelf.

On Saturday I took them to the junk shop. Now I can do some new work.

11 comments:

Freshly Found said...

Well done! For years ago and for this past weekend. It will be an exciting find for someone else now. Enjoy the clean slate!

c is for cape town said...

big moments - then and now! and an always welcome reminder to chuck. stuff. out.
regardless.
thank you!

sakurasnow said...

A great story Jesse (I can relate) - well done for exorcising those 'demons' (and, as Freshly Found says, some very lucky person will be extremely happy when they discover these drawings in the junk shop!). Here’s to making lots of great new work in 2012!

mizu designs said...

I totally get that.

I'm in a tossing out kind of mood at the moment too.

Ruby in the Dust said...

Good for you! I've also been very slow to get rid of the stuff I did and liked 20 years ago! You're right, it's good to let go of things that are no longer important to make space for the new and exciting...

Danya Ristić said...

I like the colours, especially in the second one. Interesting how they all stayed with you, and interesting how you could now let them go (though something of them remain) and make room for exciting new prospects.

andrea said...

Yes, it's funny isn't it? How we hold onto those first real breakthrough pieces? I did the same thing for so long and it got crazy because I've lived in more than 8 different dwellings since college. But I would drag them along feeling some kind of loyalty and security in having these pieces with me. The first proof, I guess, that I could make something good :) Have passed most of them on now...but not all! ;) great post jesse!

Marion said...

Agree. Great post. You've inspired me to try and do the same!

erich said...

I loved them...

Anonymous said...

And even the Errol Arendz one went....

Alisa : Ink Caravan said...

Wow, what incredible paintings Jesse! But also what a feeling of freedom choosing to leaving them behind and move on - cathartic for sure. x