Have you ever wanted to burn all of your paintings? You'd think that would be an upsetting feeling, but sometimes it's the best thing, because it means you've outgrown your old work.
"Fallen and Forgotten" adapted from a piece for ImagineFX. 2012-2013, Digital.
Allow me to speak from my heart for a minute: I outgrew my work a long time ago.
After starting the full-time illustration career, I lost sight of where I wanted to go next, so I just drifted on, and tried some things that worked and others that didn't work as well as I planned. Even "successful" pieces from last year like Omens were a stab in the direction I want to go, but fell just short of the mark. Then last week everything changed. I finally completed a piece that (I feel) is more worthy of my signature than anything that came before it, and is a clear starting point for the look and feel of my next body of work. I can't show off that particular piece for at least a year, because it's under nondisclosure, but waiting to release it gives me time to settle into a cocoon and undergo a period of intense growth and change.
I need to use the time to meditate on what my future career looks like, too. I want to continue working in games, and pursue more books after re-tooling my portfolio, but I might wait to pursue gallery work for a few years. Some might be upset by this, but after trying for a couple years to make it work, I'm putting oil painting on the back burner. I still plan to use traditional media, but probably more in the form of graphite and charcoal drawings. I think I jumped into oils prematurely, naively thinking I'd be able to put in the same level of quality as my digital work, but I need more training and practice in the medium itself before continuing down that road professionally. My sincerest apologies to original art collectors who expected more oils- it's not you, it's me.
As for burning my body of work so far, obviously that's not a real option (unless I build an Archimedes death ray like James Gurney). Growth is about building on the past, so while a lot of work will have to be retired, it won't be forgotten.
I'm so excited. Time to shut up and go draw.