Bad art

While pondering my plans for the upcoming year, I started thinking… “What do I do with the ‘bad art’ I created?”

Now don’t get in an uproar, if you’re an artist, you know you sometimes make bad art. Most of us also are in a constant state of evolution. So something you made 2 years ago, may not necessarily be really “bad” but it doesn’t fit who you are anymore. It’s like that geek who’s hanging out with the jocks; the outliers uncomfortably stand out in a crowd.

So what do you do about it? People who paint on canvas can easily slap a coat of gesso on un-favored artwork and start over. There’s even evidence that Leonardo Da Vinci did this. But what if your work isn’t so easy to make a new? What do you do? This has been my dilemma. I have a pile of things that needs to go…but where? I’ve had the pieces for a number of years and they haven’t sold. I know why, too. ~smirk~

I have been known to have a sacrificial fire in the yard when we’re burning yard waste. You can’t keep everything, so making it turn to ashes puts the energy back into the universe. This might be a bit extreme for some people.

Some of the pieces I culled have a potential to be cut-up into small squares and set aside to be re-assembled and re-purposed. Maybe I could make them into small coin purses?

Frequently charities look for donated art for fund-raising events (silent auctions, door prizes, etc). I’ve done this a few times, but isn’t always the best way to go. One thing I don’t like is that the IRS only allows artists to deduct the cost of materials, not labor or the saleable price. A tax deduction for a tube of paint and a yard of cloth…just seems like too much effort to track for the amount of benefit it would have on my tax returns. Another thing about this approach of giving away bad art that’s no longer your style, it isn’t a good way to market yourself. You really should be publicly showing art that represents who you are…not some former self. So if I can’t get a tax deduction and I’m not gaining anything as a marketing benefit, is donating bad art really a benefit to me the artist?

I really don’t know the answer to this conundrum. I guess in the end, releasing outdated pieces from the heard, is probably requires a combination of many methods. Until I figure out what to do with the culled pieces, I guess I’ll just have to hang on to my bad art.

One comment

  1. Hi Nannette! I am so glad I found this, as I have been wanting to contact you. I too have made some really bad art. My very first attempt was an abomination!!! I knew nothing about art, nothing about FMQ, nothing about thread painting and my subject was a very complex Monet piece! The more I worked at it, the worse it became, and more worse, and more worse. I finally gave up on it and went on to do other things. I saved and never let anyone see it. I would look at it often to remind myself of what not to do, not to try and also, eventually to remind myself of how far I have evolved, learned, grown and finally accomplished and have finally become a real artist and won an award! I ended up putting it into the fabric recycling bin and it went wherever that fabric for recycling goes! I have another piece that is awful that still hangs in my studio for the same reasons and is only a reminder of what not to try. I threaten it might become pot-holders!!! LOL!!

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