An Artists Dilemma – A question of updating

I’ve been shooting photos for years and have a library in the tens of thousands as well as all the finished artwork I’ve created over the years. As I started sifting through and sorting them out for this website, I started analysing (some might say over-analysing) all of the images and I began to cringe. You see, over time the images I had once created at the limits of my artistic abilities seem to have not lived up to the memories of them. Some of them are so far out of touch with who I am today that I can’t even remember the feelings I was having at the time I created them.

An Artists Dilemma – A question of updating - Evolution of an image
The evolution of an image

So I’m faced with a dilemma; do I leave them as-is and accept that this is the art I created and therefore, good or bad, this is what it should remain, or do I take the images that I still see potential in and push them to where I believe they should be now? Of course, there is a third option; delete them all and start fresh with new art.

Right at this moment I have three of my artworks open in Photoshop at various stages of updating them, as well as a brand new piece of artwork I am creating. I really like what these old images are becoming but does this mean I should erase the original versions from public existence? I know I’d like to. And who’s to say that I won’t hate these updated versions in a few years when creative expressions and abilities are in a different place yet again. Is this practice of updating art going to send me on a never-ending cycle that will see me stuck in the past and never truly evolving as an artist.

Bottom line; I don’t know the answers to these questions. I don’t know what is right and what is wrong. I don’t even know if there is a right and wrong.

I would love to know your thoughts on this. What do you think?

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