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Old Work, New Work?

JANUARY 21, 2007
Notorious criminals of Brooklyn, NY.
About 10 years ago I did this illustration about notorious criminals in Brooklyn's past, for "Brooklyn Bridge" magazine. The style of this piece was unlike anything I'd ever done before. I wanted the art to look like an historical document, as if it were taken from an old crime log. I used tea to stain the paper for an antique look. I was really happy with this image, and still think it's one of my favorite assignments.
Lord and Disciples of Brooklyn NY; personal work.
I played around with this style a bit. It was fun, something new. I was always happy with the results. I'd never done portraits or caricature before. Wouldn't it be great if I got an assignment to illustrate early stars of Baseball in this style? Or famous bullfighters? There were real possibilities here that seemed endless...
Some characters from my old Park Slope neighborhood.
One thing led to another, and as I went in other new directions with my work, I dropped the ball with this style. Now I'm suddenly excited about it again. Maybe I'll do an illustration like this of the leaders of obscure countries that no longer exist - maybe Nowanggur, Wurttemburg, or Thurn and Taxis? Or maybe an illustration of early stars of the Italian opera? I'm looking forward to exploring the possibilities.

Part of me feels like I'm stepping backwards as I look to old work for inspiration. Shouldn't I be developing totally new, unexplored directions, instead of re-hashing something that I've already done? For now, that feeling is losing out to the one that says: "This work really speaks to me. I feel like I didn't give it a chance to flourish".