Someone contacted me recently through my website about two large paintings she'd bought of mine about nine years ago. She sent me jpgs of the work and I immediately recognized the paintings. They were from a batch of work I'd consigned to a skip in 2001 when I'd moved from a large studio complex in London at Acme Studios, Carpenters Road, Stratford.
And those are not the first of the paintings that have since been resurrected from the skip. A couple of years ago another person contacted me about an early piece of work, which was from the very same batch of paintings I'd tried to discard.
When the studios closed, due to redevelopment of the area, many of the artists were sifting through their paintings which had accumulated over the years, having to make decisions about what to keep and what to discard. Some artists had to put work into storage, or just didn't have room in their new studios to take everything.
A friend helped me sort through my work. All the paintings I felt I could live without, being documented on slide, were discarded. I guess I must have consigned about ten paintings to one of the skips in the yard.
But I discovered that the work has a life of its own once it leaves the artist's studio, and there is no knowing where it will ultimately find a home. Sometimes a painting will change hands many times, people selling it on or giving the work as gifts.
Despite my best efforts to destroy those early paintings, they are still in the world! I have learnt from this experience - and now I always slash any canvases I wish to discard before I bin them. That way they are well and truly destroyed...