I love a lively debate (maybe not as much as my wife does) and this weekend, while enjoying after dinner drinks with a group of friends, I found myself in quite an interesting one. While speaking about art, the topic of posthumously completing the artwork of another came up. I can't tell you how the conversation turned to that, but it did and boy, did it liven the night up! Basically the question was is it a good or desirable thing for an artist's unfinished work to be completed by an equally skilled artist, say, when that first artist dies? I quickly found myself very passionately involved in the discussion and given that, I figured I'd share my thoughts with you.
Let me start the discussion with a warning, if I leave unfinished work behind when I pass along to the great buffet in the sky, DO NOT try to complete it, or I will haunt you eternally! And I don't mean a cute friendly Casper haunting.... I mean Stephen King book/movie creepy, scare the pants off you haunting. That may give you some sense as to where I come down on this surprisingly controversial issue.
Why do I feel this way? Well, it's like this, art is about so much more than skill, in fact, skill is only one small element, of many, that come together to create a work of art. It's necessary, no doubt, I mean of course, one much possess a certain level of skill, that's a no brainer. But a work of art is more than that, it encompasses the artist's vision, their emotions, their interpretation, in a sense, it's a slice of time glimpse into the artist at a given time. These are things that you simply can't swap out, they aren't interchangeable. No two people, no matter how close, no matter how much you've studied each other, have the same experiences, feelings or vision, therefore, the unfinished work, in this case, can never be what it was originally intended to be. Best to leave it alone, I say. And if you're so hell bent on "bringing an unfinished work to life", keep you damn mitts off of it, and maybe do your own work, based on what you see in the incomplete piece and clearly labeling it as such.