Anyone, regardless of their profession will meet setbacks in their career. For artists this will take the form of blockages in activities in the studio when things are not quite working right and this can be unnerving, unsettling.

At the same time, these occurrences can open doors for a new process of working. When you’re having an exhibition of new work and it doesn’t sell – that can be difficult. Again, I would have to talk about relativity. It’s tough if you don’t sell work at an exhibition, especially if you put a lot of time and money into the show. But that pales in significance when compared to being dealt a bad hand when you least expect it.

In nineteen eighty-three I had a horrific fire in my studio. This fire managed to destroy approximately seven or eight years of artworks, including paintings drawings and prints. At the time this was a huge setback to my career, because I had no work left and most of my documentation of the work was burned as well. I learnt a great lesson from that experience, in that it awoke in me a desire to get to know myself on a deeper level, and for that I will always be grateful. It helped to put me on an inward path, and I have never looked back.

Other setbacks include the feeling that your work is heading in a direction that encourages people to categorize you into compartments that you are not comfortable with. I do my best to jump out of those categories, to keep my freedom of expression by shifting into different media and styles. Sometimes you as an artist, can find yourself identifying problems, issues and reasons why galleries are not treating yourself and other artists appropriately, resulting in people in the art world and in the gallery system just dropping their association with you or at least wanting to because of your becoming a supposedly difficult case. This just can happen in the ebb and flow of operating within the commercial art market and needs to be understood for what it is. Know one thing: This too will pass…

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