What? Destroying Art?!

A few weeks ago, I visited my father and he told me about a friend of his whose work was being displayed/sold in a Starving Artist’s Sale. He said that his friend was a serious painter who happened to be a perfectionist. As a result, this visual artist often destroyed paintings that were flawled in his own estimation.

I was like, “What do you mean he destroys them?!”

My dad said, “He cuts them up. Throws them away.”

I promised you, I had never heard of anything like this in my entire life. Who destroys their own work? Who doesn’t go back and try to fix it – or at least let it sit until you can figure out what to do with it later? The only time I ever deleted something forever happened accidentally (I’m still looking for that chapter 2!)

So, you know I had to Google “artists destroys own work” to research this, right? As it turns out, my dad’s friend isn’t nearly the first artist to decimate a colorful canvas. I found an article about world-renowned artist, Gerhard Richter, who destroyed many pieces for various reasons. By the time he reached 80 years of age, he had “mellowed out” and realized that there was probably great value in the art that he devalued. The interviewer quoted Richter as saying, “Sometimes, time teaches you things…Although a work may not have achieved what was originally intended, something different was created instead, something that might be more important.”

As you approach the middle of January and the desire to reach that new goal (paint a new picture of yourself) may begin to wane, let me encourage you not to give up and abort the process. Even if you don’t lose all the weight you want, memorize all the scriptures you intend, or complete the word-count for your next book that you desired to reach by now, don’t give up! There may be something more important to be learned or a different but better outcome to emerge from the process.

Beyond that, there are people who will appreciate what you have completed. When I clicked through and saw still photographs of the artwork that Richter later destroyed, I was like, “What’s wrong with that one?” and “Why on earth would he destroy this one?”

We have a tendency to be far harsher on ourselves than others ever would. I know for a fact that we’re harder on ourselves than God is. He has promised believers that He would remember our sin “no more” (Hebrews 8:12). That means never.

He’s a great forgiver. I pray that as we push ourselves to be more like Him, we will adopt this quick-to-forgive trait of His first. Doing so will make everything else so much easier!

Happy New Year and Be Blessed!

2 Replies to “What? Destroying Art?!”

  1. I learned a long time ago that letting my writing sit for a while and coming back to it takes away my overly critical eye. When I look at it again, I see the value in it and I’m like, ” I wrote this? This is good!”

Leave a Reply