Friday, December 30, 2011

I Made the Recycling Bin!


The highlight of my walk the other day (other than chatting with my dear wife) was to come upon a piece of my art in the recycling bin. Some might think this strange, but I was excited to see my painting poking out of the blue can waiting to be dumped and eventually shredded into oblivion. I rescued the box so that I could reenact the moment for this post. So this begs the question-  is Illustration precious? My answer would be NO, nor do I think it should be considered as such. Don't get me wrong, I love having a painting framed and hanging on my wall after the fact , but the nature of illustration creates art that is transitory and temporary. Magazines are read and discarded, newspapers even more quickly than magazines. Paperback novels are rarely read more than once by the same person before being passed along or discarded. Packaging is torn open and tossed, posters and playbills serve their purpose and go the way of everything else in our disposable society. So, to find my art in the recycling bin got me a little giddy. First of all, I had never seen how the box art turned out and second, I was surprised to see that the client was still using my art  ten years after the fact. I admit, that I did not always feel this way about my illustration. I had the mindset that my art WAS precious, that heaven forbid anyone should ever alter or crop my work to fit their needs and worse yet, That someone should create a new piece of art by cobbling together parts of different paintings in some demented artistic Frankenstein experiment.

Part of this painting filled the bottom of the box design

But this is exactly what happened on this project. I had a client in California contact me with a rush job that did not allow time to create new art, but the client loved a mock up that combined the fields of one painting and the lake and mountains of another. Would I be willing to allow use of my work in this altered state? I admit I had a moment of horror followed by a moment of hesitation. How dare anyone ask me to compromise my artistic integrity this way? How could I allow the monstrous grafting together of two of my favorite children's book illustrations? Then I had a pause. The money being offered was decent. More than decent considering that there was no work to be done on my part. I said yes and sent off the scan and the invoice.  I have since decided that this was exactly the sort of thing that illustration should be used for- to decorate or illuminate a moment in our lives. I am proud to know that so many of my pieces of art have served their purpose and, like that yam box, have made their way into a recycling bin. I'd love to see even more of my art poking out of those blue cans on my walk.

7 comments:

zillustration said...

What a great story! Love that you found your art "in the real world", being used and recycled: both into new paper and best of all your story of recycled art being used for a new purpose. Happy New Year, and I look forward to more of your posts!

Greg Newbold said...

Thanks Paul- hope you are well!

Amy said...

I have seen your art on banners on the street, I have seen it on books, I have seen it in stores, I have seen it on produce packages, but this was a first! It was a fun surprise.

Julia Kelly said...

Congrats!! And I DO think your art will last a bit longer!!

Lori Ann said...

Love your attitude! Very Buddhist of you my brother! Thanks for sharing. You inspired me this morning.

AHAviews said...

Yesss! I'm aiming for my work on a kleenex box one day - glad to see someone gets this. It speaks, then it moves on. If it were too precious, it would clutter, immobilize and finally suffocate. Thanks for posting.

Greg Newbold said...

wow! glad to see there are other kindred spirits out there that appreciate the inherently transitory nature of what I do.