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Failure is the baseline of every studio practice, so I would instead look at destruction as a tool. I have painted over canvases as a mental exercise: those hours/days spent on a single painting don’t reside on their surface, they constitute a chronology. I have also begun new paintings over old ones simply to highlight certain textural and chromatic residues. And sometimes it’s for the sake of economy, as there’s just no canvas left!
The image, however, has a life of its own; it is not (and I don’t believe it ever has been) the artist’s prerogative where it goes and who gets to see it, especially given the speed and breadth of digital propagation. Francis Bacon would violently cut up his canvases, presumably so they wouldn’t ever be looked at again—and then the Tate, in 2012, went ahead and put them back on display (http://galleryoflostart.com/), along with other lost/destroyed/rejected works from the past 100 years by the likes of Duchamp, Picasso, Miró, and de Kooning (among others). That’s where destruction also comes in as a myth, one of the persistent few we all still, in some way, subscribe to.