before the end

The 64th hexagram of the I Ching is named “before the end”, and that’s the situation I find myself in. A long term project is nearing completion and “the summit is in sight” but, in the words of my translation…”when you do reach the peak ….. you will have done just that. You will have acquired little information and no experience whatsoever about descending the other side.”

And, that is the way it is with artists, for example. It is one thing to create a piece of work, the skills involved are totally different to those needed once the piece has been made. Once made the piece is an object for sale, possibly. It’s attractiveness is dependent on the ability of the maker to market either the piece, or themselves, to prospective buyers.

Watching Hockney today on the TV reminded me of how amazingly talented Warhol, Hirst and others have been in self promotion. Compared to my limited experience of American dinner parties where I was told in no uncertain terms to “network”, I was brought up to be modest and very English. ‘Blowing your own trumpet’ was frowned upon. No-one ever told me that if you don’t blow it no one will hear.

So the summit, the end, is merely the start of a different phase. Artists have to become marketing geniuses if they want to eat the fruits of their creativity (unless they are chefs, I guess). Herein lies a bit of a problem for the artist or other small business. The main person has to do everything (unless they have a wheelbarrow full of cash) creative director, advertising manager, logistics, book-keeping, etc etc. This, in competition to the major players on the international scene who do have the cash to asign these roles to different, talented individuals.

This is, however, no reason to sigh and give in. The world will not beat a path to your door so forget the karmic idea that you will be ‘discovered’. It is simply time to don a new hat and face the world in a different guise (and a bit of luck never hurts).

As the I Ching warns.. “do not become suspended in a meaningless midbreath”.

So, I am waiting for the last few ‘prims’ to dry before cracking open the moulds tomorrow to see if the resultant penultimate pieces are satisfactory, that, and awaiting Amazon to deliver more resin to complete the base.

The great thing about a deadline is that it does concentrate the mind, the bad thing is that you can be tempted to ‘snatch’ at the result and lose patience. It’s an interesting balance.

Hopefully, lots of photos next time …. either that, or another philosophic dissertation on the importance of failure and patience.

Have a great week.






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8 responses to “before the end

  1. so what’s next? =)

    (btw, beautifully written soror)

  2. First of all I look forward to the results, whether it be photos or the dissertation :)

    I like your analogy of the summit. As an artist we become submerged in our project, and then work and work and work, and the moment we are done we become more aware of the outside world again.

    It is at this point we either hide our work, which doesn’t do much good to anybody, or display it for all the world to see. When this involves a fairly supportive crowd, it can provide a little boost. When it involves peddling your goods to entities such as galleries or collectors who have no particular connection to us, and who already have plenty of artists to pick from, it is much more daunting. Unless that certain spark (the luck factor) occurs, our art is no more special to them than anything else they have seen. And this is where that dreaded marketing comes in, selling both the art and the artist. This part eludes me…I know that my art is competent enough to show alongside other works in this or that gallery, but don’t really know how to convince this or that gallery owner of that. But like you said, we really do have to keep blowing our own horn, until someone likes the tune they hear.

  3. @ Ener…. next? ..I’ll look see if Amazon sells hand cream by the kilo…..
    Thanks for the compliment.

    @Scottius … yes, promotion has never been my strong point. I will make an attempt this time, however, to treat it (promotion) as a creative project rather than just dread it.

  4. An important thing the I Ching teaches us is that failure and success are mostly circumstantial, and not of our own fault or doing, which, to me, is a relaxing thought. What we need to do is to adapt to a given situation, to “ride the wave” as they probably say in Hawaii, and to remain true to ourselves. Some things will be successful, others won’t, and with time I just learned to accept that and not give much thought; what counts is the fun I had making them. I mean this very literally, as I’m still doing a lot of things that aren’t successful by any means, and probably never will be, but I still have a lot of fun doing them for myself.

    However, I also believe the internet (i.e. search engines) does us, who aren’t used to self-promote, a great favour by enabling others to simply and serendipitifully stumble upon what we made as if by accident, which is another thought at the core of the I Ching: That seemingly unconnected events are meaningful to one another.

    “Before the end” to me always seemed to be a good sign; things were still in flow, and you could still try to get good influence, even though you need, like so many times, apprehend caution.

  5. @ Vanish .. yes, excellent points. I totally agree.

  6. “There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost. The world will not have it.

    “It is not your business to determine how good it is, nor how valuable it is, nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and be aware directly to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open…

    “No artist is pleased…[there is no] satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer, divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.”

    – Martha Graham, dancer/choreographer (1894-1991)

  7. That is a wonderful quote, Aliz. It puts me in mind of another, similar in meaning but not quite so eloquent… “I was not born to be satisfied” ….but I love the words “divine dissatisfaction” … that’s excellent.

  8. this brings to mind something i have struggled with. when i am obsessed with an artwork, whether it be a painting in RL or a sculpture in SL, i wonder when it is done. i wonder when to quit and walk away. it’s hard to do. “….a painting is never finished, only abandoned.” Leonardo da Vinci said that and for me it is so true. i have no way of deciding that question. sometimes lesser has proved to be more. other times i have to keep pushing on. this issue is part of the mystery.

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