Of course, it goes without saying that success is a relative thing, as it all depends upon what I’m comparing it to. (I did once purchase a block of apartments during a recent property boom in Australia and doubled my money in just over a year.)
I probably suffer from the dreaded Australian conditioning called Tall Poppy Syndrome, where playing it safe is considered the only way to go.

It may be the case in my situation as I have always had an inherent fear of what people think of me and although I put myself out pronouncedly in the public eye with my career choices, I do constantly live with this preoccupation about people’s opinions. I may not be the only one here with such a predilection from what I gather; many artists are in a similar boat.
I probably also have a certain level of inner cynicism, which has kept me at just enough of a distance from all of the things that I’ve engaged in over the years to ensure my lack of true outstanding mega success. I believe it’s probably natural for any person to truly excel in their chosen field at a certain point in their life. For me, to be truly honest, it’s often been a struggle to allow myself to enjoy any success I do have, without me feeling that I have to exaggerate my own stories of grandeur in some way or another in order to prop it all up, in my own mind either as an inner dialogue or in certain instances as an outer projection.
Many people choose not to look at these things in their lives, especially artists. I believe it is healthy to bring a microscope to these various traits from time to time as a way of checking in and if necessary changes will then happen of their own accord if necessary.
I remember playing cricket when I was young and our coach came up to me one day when I was bowling. I was trying to be a fast bowler and he said to me “You should take note of this boy over here who is bowling medium pace, don’t try to be something that you’re not”. Great advice. I was so persistent that I didn’t take any notice of him because his advice upset me. I thought he was a downer and was just trying to dampen my ambitions. As it has happened, there was some truth in my coach’s advice, as this has been a recurring theme in my life. I have moved relentlessly from one thing to the next, often trying to prove myself constantly with ceaseless ambition. This can be good in one sense, in that not much can be achieved without a healthy amount of ambition, but it can also be misguided if there is no consciousness about the process.
I think this includes aspects of my career as an artist. In my own eyes, and in the eyes of those I have successfully convinced through my relentless media releases and PR campaigns, I am highly successful on most levels. In the meantime life goes on and different things become important in a career; sometimes this can mean total shifts in emphasis and direction.
At one point, I stopped approaching galleries to represent my work because I wanted to write books. This was a good decision, as it freed up time for me to totally focus on the books. The decision to exhibit less was also a sound business decision. This was reinforced following a great but disastrous-for-sales exhibition in Beijing, where in my first entry into the Chinese market, I sold very little work.
The feedback from those who attended the exhibition was positive nonetheless, which for me in certain ways made up for it, knowing that my gallery was situated virtually next door to the famed New York ‘Pace’ Gallery.

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