I was given this book as a present a few years ago. I have been browsing through it on and off over the past week or so after rediscovering it on my bookshelf. The concept of the book is an interesting one - what do artists consider to be their first work? This is not necessarily the first work that they ever created. Quite often it is a work they see as a break through; the significance of the work upon their artistic journey being of more importance sometimes that the actual work in its own right.
I consider 'The Good Samaritan' to be my first work:
This is the first painting that I completed in the third year of my degree that survived my own selection to be included in my final degree show exhibition. It was the first time that I had worked a single image across multiple canvases on such a large scale. The processes I had been exploring up to that point seemed to make more sense, and have a more cohesive and dramatic impact, on the larger scale. It made me loosen up and look at the bigger picture in a way I perhaps had not been doing previously.
All of the works that I have produced since this painting have somehow been informed by it. It marks the moment in time when I felt that I had found my own 'visual voice'. Although my subsequent paintings have evolved to have different aesthetics, subjects and/or concepts, both the thought and practical processes behind them can be traced back to 'The Good Samaritan' in some way.
What do other artists (whether visual, writer , performer or musician) consider to be their 'first work'? I would be interested to see what others would select and their reasoning for this. What would you pick as your 'first work'?
Coincidentally one of my favourite contemporary painters, Jenny Saville, is featured in this book. Her choice of first work is 'Branded' just in case you are interested.