Over the years I have thrown away my fair share of artwork that I have made myself. I don’t think I’m alone as an artist who feels that if a piece isn’t up to my standards, then I don’t want it to be on display… anywhere.
The artwork that comes to mind here is the first Marilyn Monroe piece I made a couple of years ago. I was still a fairly novice beader who hadn’t settled on my best techniques and methods, and I bit off more than I could chew with this piece. Everything that could go wrong did go wrong, but I was determined not to give up on it. At 50x70cm it was the biggest piece I’d ever made, and my first problem was that I didn’t make it big enough. Yes, it was slightly too small for the frame, so I ended up going back and adding a couple of outside rows of beads to it, using just tape (using a pegboard wasn’t an option as it had already been ironed). This helped, but it took forever and still wasn’t a great fit for the frame. The other major issue I had was overmelting of a patch of beads right in the middle. Like I said, I was still learning and my iron was set too hot. The only thing I could do was cut the affected beads out, replace them and iron them, hoping they wouldn’t stick out too much. It improved the picture, but the replaced beads did look different, especially when looking at the picture up close. To try and blend in my alterations I ironed the front too, which I rarely do as the beads always melt unevenly, especially when you use different brands, like I do.
So I was never happy with Marilyn, even though my wife liked it and wanted it on our wall, and even after my (now ex-) agent wanted it for his art gallery. After a while I couldn’t stand it anymore and redesigned a new version that would fit the frame properly, and wouldn’t have any overmelted patches (as I’m pretty good at ironing now!). The result was this piece, which I’m now happy to have on the wall:
What happened to the other piece? It went in the bin. I didn’t want to sell or even give it to anyone else because I disliked it so much. I didn’t want that to be something that other people associated my art with. It needed to not exist.
The same went for an Iron Man portrait I made a few years ago. Again, I wasn’t that experienced, and followed the computer design a bit too blindly. So in time I became less happy with the quality of it, and the nail in the coffin came when I ironed the front, in order to make a smooth surface for signing. I didn’t like how it looked, and in hindsight I would have just ironed a small patch on the front… or just got something else signed! My plan was to get it signed by Stan Lee at the London Film & Comic Con, but the autograph number queuing system was so crazy that I didn’t get a chance in the end. So I had another piece that I wasn’t happy with that had to be destroyed.
The only other one I can think of is a Tomb Raider piece that I was happy with, but I used a new glue to mount it, and when it dried it expanded massively and spilled out through the beads. It wasn’t fixable, so that got binned too.
It’s never fun admitting defeat and throwing away hours of work, but I like to think I’ve learned from each one. Be it iron temperature, design quality or glue type, my technique has improved over the years due to mistakes I’ve made. And nothing inspires me to get to work on a new project like the need to move on from a failure!
My name is Iain and my addiction is making pixel bead art. My main inspirations are comics, video games and movies.