by Rey Armenteros
It is only natural to look back at old art and find it subpar, but what happens when you conclude that it was better than you remember it? What happens when you look back at old artwork and find it in your honest assessments that you had deviated from something that was actually better?
When it happens to me, I wonder if I still have it in me on some one or two levels, if I can no longer draw that hand the way I thought I could, if my eye for color is softening. I wonder if I took the wrong turn back seven years ago, and it is now coming to haunt me. I hate feeling regret, but moments like these, it is unavoidable.
This sound like a warning, but I do feel old art should always be revisited, because it contains reminders of paths you had intended but left behind. When I look at these old images from Shinchon, Korea, I find a freshness and boldness that I have put up on the shelf as my art developed with the years. Reminders of freshness are beneficial later, when that is a trait you don’t even recognize you’re missing.
by Rey Armenteros
It was one of those garage moments wherein I was cracking open old boxes and dodging the welling dust to get at old memories. No matter how you cut it, looking at old artwork is asking for trouble. The excitement that comes with the curiosity, for me, usually mingles with confusion.
Here is one take on that confusion. It is rare when you look at the old drawings that you find exactly what you remembered. You are either going to wonder why you thought that drawing that was so good was good at all, or you’re going to look at certain mediocre pieces that actually had promise if not a certain something that “those old good ones” lacked.
This is good, you tell yourself, because this is the clarity of distance (the distance of time) making you see what should have been obvious. This is the same perspective you exercise when you put aside a painting for a couple of weeks and get enough distance to see it from a more objective position. You tell yourself this, and you uphold this fickle assessment as something inestimable.