Today I’m doing something that most artists would see as foolhardy, anathema, or even heretic; I’m destroying one of my sketchbooks.
“When I opened the door and walked in, the floor was solidly covered with these torn drawings that I had left and they began to interest me and I started collaging.”*
Going back over myself is just as important as going forward. I don’t see sketchbooks as starchy references with a sacrosanct status. Instead, if there is something there that I can take forward then I won’t hesitate in physically dissecting and reworking its contents. For me, this is the next step in a long journey in my artmaking. I refuse to live in a museum surrounded by the things I make. Instead, art is an ongoing dialogue with my past, present, and future self.
This sketchbook is from a historic photography workshop that I took in 2007. Here I’m tearing up lith prints, cyanotypes, pictograms, on an astounding array of papers. I’ve always loved this sketchbook but I’ve barely looked at it for the last 9 years so what purpose is it serving me? Today it is time to reuse and repurpose this into a New Form.
Interestingly, I’m discovering that some of the reference negatives I used to create the photographs for this sketchbook are old images from before I was born. Others are of favourite places from throughout my life. These images are a true portrait of who I am as well as a snapshot of a particular period of my life.
*Lee Krasner, in Diamonstein, Inside New York’s Art World (New York: Rizzoli 1980) p205