I have often been asked what my definition of success is and whether or not I consider myself successful. The parameters by which I define success are particularly wide. I don’t feel that it’s confined to financial success or necessarily aligned to fame, though it may be the case that someone is financially rewarded for what they do or receive generous accolades along the way. Greater success comes from acting from an honest place, in which case you may be blessed with a lot of beauty in life and lifestyle as a reward.
In many ways, I feel that I’ve had a great deal of success in my life and I do gauge that as both an interior quality and an exterior experience, because I can also see that I’m living in a beautiful place here in Australia. It’s a beautiful, abundant lifestyle and I feel momentum from constant improvement on many levels. The fine-tuning of my inner self is reflected in my outer life, making success an infinite journey. The idea of being a successful artist is a relative notion; the whole idea of being a successful artist is. For example in terms of my hometown of Byron Bay, I see that I have a certain amount of success here. People in my geographical area are aware of me as an artist who has achieved recognition in my career. On a statewide level in New South Wales, people are aware of my work, having exhibited on a number of occasions at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. In terms of a national presence in Australia, I am well known, as I have won some significantly important prizes and have exhibited nationally.
I usually go to New York City annually to have an exhibition or to be involved in a lecture. New York is extraordinarily exciting; on any given Thursday evening there are fifty or more exhibition openings! This particular fact highlights the notion of the relativity of success and brings it all very much into perspective. In my studio, the fact that I can create whatever I want to feels like a successful accomplishment.
I’ve been painting for many years, and also I’m recently involved in a series of sculptures and wall-works using driftwood again. I am also branching out into working with recycled tree stumps and with writing books. I’ve granted myself permission to use a variety of techniques and mediums, when and, as I please. Success is sometimes feeling that one isn’t categorized or confined.
I was reading about the British artist Damien Hirst. He was named on the Artprice Art Market Information website as the fourth highest earner from art sales recently. He has apparently amassed nearly one billion dollars. One might ask successful people if they are successful in their personal lives with family and relationships. Depending upon their response, you might find that the notions of success are relative.
Damien’s billion dollars give him incredible financial success as an artist, but does that billion dollars make him happy? My definition of success is a holistic one and is simple.
All else will follow.