I'm getting older. I'm 58. I started seriously selling my art when I was 26. I get to see some of that 32-year-old work from time to time and am struck by the directions I took.
It felt so important to me at the time. It felt edgy and raw because I thought I was wise and had issues to teach.
When I see it now it seems shallow. The messages have faded and the edge isn't as sharp as I thought it was then. It was too obvious. And that made it trite, and dates it badly now.
I was too young to know it at the time. Time hasn't killed it. My lack of knowledge about life back then killed the work before it was three years old, if it was ever alive in the first place.
It was all necessary. The self-importance, the seeming invincibility, creating a body of work only a month before a show, trying to talk a convincing game, showing up at the party, and staying late. There is a beauty and some elegance in growing older as an artist. Your wounds from battering yourself with your own garbage in your younger days have led you to an honesty in your work. You prize the patina you have earned. The search has all led to this: the need to please only yourself.
If the work I've produced in the last decade has sent a message, or made others see a definition--I'm very thankful---but it has all been a gift to myself. It is my true payoff. My reward for hard work rendered.