Wednesday, September 19, 2007

success can be dangerous

I really like horoscopes, palm readers, tarot cards, and numerology. I know most people think these things are kooky. The homepage on my browser opens up to Aquarium Age Astrology so that everyday I can be reminded of the forces outside of myself. This helps me to focus my energy on what I believe is my higher spiritual calling—art—and not on the things that hold me back from my calling such as stress, anxiety, and my fears of what’s going to happen to me when I’m an old lady and I got no retirement fund.

I read two horoscopes a week, the other being Free Will Astrology. I often get a kick in the pants from Free Will, and I keep thinking about one I got a couple of weeks ago. I think this is actually a message for all artists:

"Success is dangerous," said Picasso. "One begins to copy oneself, and to copy oneself is more dangerous than to copy others. It leads to sterility." Sorry to start your horoscope with a warning, Leo, especially given how much beautiful success you've generated recently. But the astrological omens suggest you may soon be tempted to turn your spontaneous outpourings into pat formulas. And that would be a shame. There's still a lot more fresh hot mojo brewing within you, and it'll reach its highest expression if it keeps surprising you. Trust what's fresh, uncategorizable, and at the frontiers of your understanding.

I keep thinking about this as I go about my work, because right now I’m going through a period of transition in my work and I’m feeling a bit lost. It is tempting to re-interpret old designs into something new just to keep myself busy. I’ve had several weeks now of low production, and I keep telling myself that it’s okay, and to give myself the time I need to make new work. I think every artist needs to hear Picasso’s message, and I’d love to hear from people on how they resist – or don’t resist—the temptation to copy themselves.


  1. I think it`s (unfortunately?) very true. Producing only leads you to "short cuts" and it takes your time from experimenting, trying out new ideas. While making stuff that sells for sure, are we suffocating that free inspirational flow in our minds? What are we afraid of more - no success at all or no new ideas? There is balance somewhere though, it`s just every person`s personal quest to find out where it lies.
    Thank You for sharing! I have to check out these horoscopes too, although I don`t believe in those. I have always thought that they are more limiting your personality, than helping generally.
    Kind regards from Germany :)

  2. What a lovely and appropriate quote. I think I'll print it out and post it some place in my studio that I can see every day.

    I so appreciate your sharing both the successes and the struggles in your creative process.