If you happen to peruse my acrylic gallery you'll notice a few paintings that no longer exist. One being the mural I had painted in my childhood room which I just posted today, and another I posted a few years ago which is a moon over clouds. I'm sad to announce that both of these paintings only exist under layers of other paint thanks to my parents and in-laws deeming them "child's things" or some other such thing as they flippantly decided that I was "never going back".
When I was just starting into college I decided to paint my room purple for a change of pace, and thankfully my mom was a cool mom and allowed me to paint murals in my room. She really didn't have much say in the matter as I did many of my paintings without her permission and then convinced her that it would be 'cool' if I did it. I was a designer at heart to some extent at that time and if you look at the decor in the room, I had swords and unicorns and things to match the theme (ignoring the flowered comforter on the bed which was her later addition after I moved out). Well, the painting sprung up over various months and probably took a few years to develop into what it was at its completion. I even updated things on the painting as my tastes changed so it was kind of an evolving beast until I moved out with my eventually-to-become-husband. There was a lot of blood/sweat/tears that went into it and I was fiercely proud of it because even though I've done other murals over the years, this one was guaranteed to stay where it was until such time that Mom sold the house and moved out - then the new owners could do whatever they wanted.
Or so I thought.....
Then came my In-Laws who painted over my husband's room the year or so after he moved out. But he wasn't an artist, and everything he had on the walls moved with him, so no big deal. They came and visited my Mom's house once a few years back and then never went back until this year. The plan? Go up there to help my mom fix up some things that were broken. I've been trying to do that myself from time to time but it had been some three-four years since they'd gone, so I didn't think much of it. Until they started talking about painting my room.
And I didn't think much of it then either because they were suggesting it during one of my most busy times when I was dealing with our convention and work and stress from trying to decide what the heck to do with my life because I was miserable with all of it. When I get stressed out I tend to go into "zone out" mode and that's what happened. I was numb to the idea of them painting the room and thought, "that can't be bad, it doesn't need to be purple anymore."
But I didn't think about the mural.
And when they announced it was all done and painted and all the holes were filled and then mom started talking about sanding over my paintings to smooth them out.... I realized it was too late. My work was gone. It's destroyed. The only memories I have of it are a few crappy photos.
On the days after it was done, and my In-Laws were so proud of having helped my mom, I blew up, I snapped that they could have done anything else to have helped that house get fixed up, so why did they WASTE TIME painting over my room? I wasn't sure at the time why I blew up, I was still in shock I think, and it only occurred to me that THAT was the reason, my work having been destroyed by them - after all of the other things in my life cleared out of the way for awhile.
So... what would you do? Have you had your work destroyed by someone who just didn't realize how much time and energy you put into it? I'm sure you have. Would you have been numb to it or did you stick up for it in advance? I'm still distraught by it and unhappy about it. Both my mother-in-law and mother were both artists of sorts in their younger days, and yet they had no respect for something I did? It just jabs it into me how I never felt like anyone was truly behind me as being an artist all of my life. I never had artwork hanging on the fridge after a certain age, my mom never went out of her way to hang any of my drawings in frames, and anything that did get put up was taken down so shortly after that it was like I'd never done anything. She'll display 3-D artwork that I painted for her at holidays, and a cross-stitch I did still hangs in her living room, but I feel like those were crafts...so why does it feel like this was just another jab at me as being an artist?
I think it's one reason I really haven't done much as of late and probably won't, because people shrug off what I do so easily. But I wanted to commemorate this occasion with a post so I'll remember how I felt at this time of artistic slaughter.