I reposted this to give some insight in some of the Battles I have gone through in order to attain my present level of "success". Someone from a long time ago had contacted me and said it sound as I was doing very well, when I showed them that the average bus boy working part time earns more money than I did last year, and gave them a list of places I had applied at multiple times and all the various "opportunities" I had gone after, they told me that they did not know whether to laugh or cry. I told them I didn't know either so I thought I would pursue my dreams, all of it has come at a cost. I use to see a strong, positive, enthusiastic individual who believed in limitless possibilities,(that was living below the poverty line) now, after years of living well below the poverty line, I see a broken shadow of the man I use to be that wonders regularly how he made such a mess of shit that he wonders how he will feed his daughter most weeks. So if there is anybody out there in internetland thinking I do not know what I am talking about when I write theories about artist success(remaining positive, looking for the best in opportunities,self belief) or thinks of I can't relate to their life cause I am in a different level or have different opportunities, your wrong. Quite possibly the only difference is that you have the choice to turn down many opportunities that come your way because of your chosen life style. I have not had that luxury in many moons and ravenously tear at any bone thrown this dogs way to feed his hunger from the past months of starvation.The success propaganda says that I have chosen this, I guess it's right I chose to be a starving artist only because I thought it would lead me to the holy land. I can also state I never expected the ride to go like this. Soo if you ever wonder why I might post all this positive stuff(its about getting to where you wanna go) then disappear for a bit, it's not cause I am flying Leer Jets as I sell my work for thousands of dollars, It because although I appreciate my current level of success and am thankful for every friend, family member and patron that has helped me get to this point, I can often be found bedridden with depression wondering how this will ever end. Heres some advice that just might help if you ever find yourself in the same place.
I believe depression and art are often linked together. It is not because there is something wrong with you and you do not have the skills to make your way through the world. The reality is that art is a hard business. Even if your vision is great, you ability is strong, you have all the connections in the world, you still may not make it. It is not because your art is worthless, which is literally an extension of your soul and there by devalues your feeling of self worth. It is because art is an under valued commodity and as such it is hard to find to buyers and even harder to find buyers that will pay your price. It is even harder to find individuals willing to take a chance on something that is not already established.
Part of the reason that art is such a hard market is often the cliental is under educated about the value of art only following trends (what they are being told is of value) or are looking for what will match their furniture in their house(which their is nothing wrong with as long as one realises that every painting is not art). Another reason is the market is so over saturated with "artists". It never ceases to amaze me how quickly someone can become an artist with in my presence (which is good as part of my job is to inspire). I would say in our world there are more "artists" at the present time then any other time in history, and I am not talking about in the renaissance sense (although the new renaissance has been building momentum for years). The reason for this is because our society makes it so easy for anyone to buy their identity, you can become anything you want with the investment of a few hundred dollars, and in our case we are talking bout art supplies. Another reason for this mass explosion is because post Secondary Education is so affordable now any one can get a student loan and study anything they want the only prerequisite being that you are willing to payback you loan or live with bad credit.Truth be told we all know Art is more than that.
Art is everything our society seems to deem as unnecessary now. It is time, patience, the delay of automatic gratification, it is study, hard work, and most of all expression of the self (which after the Bush administrations indoctrination of it's culture of fear is a feat few are willing to take a chance of doing). These are qualities that are no longer understood by the masses. In order to gain any competence in creating a visual image, it takes hours of dedication and study to understand the visual language that is used to make an image. I am not trying to take away anything from anyone who has their own automatic understanding of visual language, they too spend many hours learning to create or speak that language that is why they create more than one image. As an example when was the last time you looked at an apple for an hour, thought about its lines, its contours, it's color, its shape? Now imagine the skill it takes to competently draw a representation of an apple. How long do you think it would take to build that skill?
Many of you have taken that time, many of you have learned the skill of visual communication, and many of you have gone through post secondary education and are paying back that debt right now. Yet still you have not succeeded financially. It makes you question your self worth, the value of your life, where you went wrong. You feel pathetic and alone and worthless. I am here to tell you that you are none of those things, those are preconceptions. Go to the mirror right now look in your eyes, what do you see?
Those are the EYES of a WARRIOR, look deep into them and you will see. You may say how can you say that you don't even know me? I say, I am you, you are me, I know this cause you are reading this now, if we were not the same and have not had the same journey you would have read something else or I would have written something else.
I have given up many many things in order to make the work I make and have had a very limited amount of success in its promotion and sale. I have given up regular jobs which equates to money which equates too many other luxuries our society has to offer. I have spent many lonely nights locked in my mind hoping this would be the piece that would break me out so I could live a some what of a normal life. I have wondered where I was going to get rent as I lost my job again because I put an emphasis on my time to create rather than be at the beck and call of my manager. Don't get me wrong there were always people to help me. It does not mean I did not feel pathetic though or wonder why they could afford to help me out and I could afford to help myself. I have had friends and family continually achieve new successes while I struggled to feed my daughter. These struggles have often lead some of those people to question the validity of my sanity. They could not understand the areas I was making progress.
So as a warrior how do I keep my chin up and continue fighting. Here are something’s I believe that are keys for any individual to continue being an artist for any length of time (cause remember even if you’re on top now you might not be there tomorrow).
First off if you are drinker or take drugs regularly, GET OFF THE DRUGS THEY ARE NOT HELPING, I would have never written that a year ago, I can now see that I was greatly delusional, partly by the Pot smoke, mostly by the ideals of what I thought an artist must be (which is ironic cause really an artist is suppose to break all boundaries). There is no way you can perform to a maximum state when you are inebriated. I know for those of you who are reading this high you will dismiss this (and forget it). Nobody could have ever told me I was inebriated a year ago I would have never believed them, I only realised I was when I was ready to get sober, I am not such a prude as to say you can never take drugs or indulge, I will say that taken regularly they distort you vision and reality. This includes doctor prescribed drugs; if you are dependent on you anti depressants it is no different than taking any other drug. Yourself is deluded.
Exercise regularly. Think it inhibits creativity, Van Gogh was known to do many body weight exercises daily (yeah I know he killed himself anyways). Exercise Helps, it releases endorphins, makes you feel good, lets body move and may even take you outside. I do pretty a killer work out that is because I train to fight. I train to fight because that was the type of exercise that inspired me to "JUST DO IT". I ain't running any where I would gladly step into the ring though. I train heavily so I can fight bigger guys and fight longer(in truth I do Armageddon training so if I ever have to fight my way out the city cause everyone has turned savage I am prepared, real optimistic I know, it motivates me though). Find something you love to do, a sport, dance, casual rides around your city, anything. That can often motivate you to do other things that move your body. Example you get into riding your legs start to hurt, you try yoga to stretch them out.
Listen to you thoughts and take note of them while you are creating. When you are creating you are in a different frame of mind (I have heard it called Alpha) it is the same state that one reaches in meditation. One could even state that creation of art is active meditation. These words or thoughts literally burn into you brain. You would not believe the realization I came to the other day as I realised that one of the things I repeated often while creating was “I should just kill myself". If you spend five hours drawing and repeat that numerous times what effect do you think that has on the rest of your day? The state one reaches in meditation or creation is very powerful your brain is very susceptible to the words we think. If you find as I did that you are thinking negative thoughts, change your Mantra's. I now regularly repeat that I am one of this century’s greatest artists, and that I will make a lot of money doing it.
Finally you should always accept help. As an artist and a warrior we believe we are often more than human, we are not and there are all sorts of people looking to help you succeed. It wasn't till last month when one of my patrons(a person who has given me money regularly to help me ensure I continue to grow and continue on my path as an artist) stated" I haven't given you thousands of dollars just because your my friend, I have given you thousands of dollars cause I believe in you"(just to make it clear he is definitely not JD Rockefeller ) that it occurred to me that many people in my life have helped me because they believe in my goal. People have given me their time, their energy, their resources, even their money, not cause I am a pathetic fool because they believe in me though. Look at the relationships you have around you many people are offering you their resourses and you might not be able to see it. There Are People Who want you to Succeed. Know you strengths and your weaknesses let people help you where you are weak, in return help people where you are strong.
I write this after coming out of a little depression, this depression was nowhere near as bad as other ones I suffered and really it came about from being immobile for a couple of weeks because of a sickness then some dental surgery. I truly believe this depression was nowhere near as bad because I have been doing a lot of Mental Conditioning. For about five months I listen to very little else other than Tony Robbins and I did his Get The Edge program. I then continued listening to Jim Rohn and I am now listening to Silva Ultra Mind System. All of which I would have laughed at a year ago. This was one of my ways of getting help. I realised through the process of all this, that when I was younger I had prepared to live fast die young, that theory doesn't work when you have a kid. Now I wanna get old and live forever, I still had "old maps" I was following in my head. I am now preparing for success. I want you to prepare for success too. As an artist this world needs you, it needs to hear your individual voice and needs to be influenced by you. As a Warrior it needs to be led by your example. I will try to remember these words too. If you feel depressed do something about it, call your best friend, call your mom, listen to some of Rollins NEW spoken word, go to show dance all night or even go for a walk and shoot some hops clear your mind and remember, YOU ARE AN IMPORTANT INDIVIDUAL .