Do yourself a favor!
Unforunately it seems like almost every other artist out there is suffering from a case of the fame and glory blues. And it doesn't seem to matter how celebrated or uncelebrated they are. They are tortured by these haunting words: "why hasn't anyone discovered me?" Why aren't I famous, or more famous, or recognized, or more appreciated? Why haven't I gotten the fame and glory I deserve? This, of course, all adds up to a black hole, a bottomless pit.
I was just speaking with one of the top dealers in the country this morning and she freely admitted that she has watched even her most famous and successful artists sing these blues, and she never understands why. Black hole/bottomless pit. You can NEVER fill it: fact. So why start trying? If that is what gets us up in the morning, then maybe we should just stay in bed a little longer and figure this out.
The question is what does everyone really want? You see it in every beer and car commercial, and these people know their business(appreciation is the wrong answer, by the way). The answer is: time and space; the time and space to be who we are and do what we want. To do and accomplish anything we need to have the space and time to get it done. That is the undiscovered island, where space and time come in abundance. As an artist you must have this. Lemmings, sheep, groupies want to go where the crowds are, crushing everything; but the people who supposedly have fame and glory are always trying to get back to the space and time of the "undiscovered" place.
Why would you really want to be the "discovered" place, the Disney World, the Time Square, and have everyone crawling all over you, never a moment's peace. Be careful what you wish for, as they say(The most famous and powerful person in the world has everyone telling him what a jerk he is--which should be a cautionary tale for anyone--who would actually want to be president?). Be the undiscovered island. Enjoy your obscurity! Find peace. Love the peace. IT IS THE BEST PLACE TO BE, AND THE BEST PLACE TO WORK!
Furthermore, if you have to be cursed with glory, give it time, give YOURSELF time, don't rush into it. Get the work done first. Then, if and when your time comes, then accept it. If it doesn't come, then be glad. Because you are free. Don't give it another thought!
Is this rationalizing failure?
Well, maybe. But it is a chance worth taking. Furthermore, do you really believe that this is how success is measured anyway? Who decides? Time has shown otherwise. The dung heap of history is piled high with people who were slaves to fame and glory all their lives. They have been forgotten. Fame is fleeting. We are a speck in the universe. That is why Van Gogh remains so powerful to us. Or Thoreau...who had a library of nine hundred books, seven hundred of which he had written(he could barely give them away). Enjoy your freedom the way they did, enjoy the space that "undiscovered" gives you, and to do exactly as you please with your work. If no one cares, all the better, because you are the only one who has to, and you do! And if you know you're good, good enough, well then... there you have it! You know it. Appreciate it. What do you need the approval for? Critics, institutions, collectors?
What have you got to lose?
Your frustration? Your bitterness? Your anxiety? Throw them all away! Negative emotions. Be free. Be the best you can be. Be the beautiful undiscovered island!
If one day when you're old or dead and they find you, well then, your time has come. But in the meantime enjoy the love of your friends, family, home, studio, and work. Leave the rest to history.
Also worth mentioning:
Not every artist obsesses about their careers. Not every artist is crying about a lack of recognition. But these artists disappear into the background because they make no noise.
Yes, there are important questions to be asking. Why not me is not worth the trouble. Questions about time and place and touch and goodness and courage and honesty and harmony and tension and what is and what isn't and how can I contribute to a better life for all and how can I see and feel and intuit more and use my mind and share what I have. Our time here is like gold and these are better questions in my mind. I am sure you have some too.
Addison Parks/Artdeal, December 2005