It’s OK to destroy art
Last night I was frustrated. I was working on a series of abstract panes and none of them came out the way I wanted it to. I expressed my frustration to my mother and on Facebook.
A few of my friends encouraged me in different ways. One person told me to go to bed and look at it with fresh eyes in the morning. Another told me that what appeared ugly to me might look beautiful to someone else.
My Mom just told me she didn’t like the panes, except for one which was alright.
OK, people, when my Mom says my art isn’t doing it for her, it really needs to go. Though, to be fair, Mom’s always been like this. She’s not the mom that gave her children gold stars for eating their broccoli. She’s the mom who, when I came to her proudly to let her know I’d memorized my multiplication tables up to times 10, when I was in the 2nd grade, told me to learn them to times 16. At the time I was angry with her. Later in life, dealing with hexadecimal calculations, I was grateful to her.
At any rate, I took a break and read for a little while. I talked to a friend. Then I went back, looked at my panes, and destroyed all of them except for the one Mom liked. Then I turned on the radio, and, while listening to my tunes, I created panes that I like better. The photograph above is of one of those panes.
Here’s the thing. It’s OK to destroy something you’ve created that you don’t like. You can delete a story here on Medium, unravel a shawl you knit or cover over a canvas with another painting.
Art isn’t sacred. And sometimes the act of destruction is just as important to creativity as the act of creation.
Think of it this way. The Big Bang created the Universe. But it was also an act of destruction of the state that existed before.
So go ahead. Evaluate your art. Don’t feel obligated to hold on to it just because you made it. You can choose what to keep and what to let go. And the process you use to decide actually helps you become a better artist.