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    Is a tarot reading compatible with a belief in God?

    March 15th, 2023

    A question I’ve been pondering lately is whether a tarot reading is compatible with a belief in God. Here are my thoughts about that.

    Yes. Absolutely, yes it is. Here’s why:

    Even those who profess not to have any belief in god still talk about the Great Creator, or a Mother Goddess, or an Earth spirit who created all life and all things and permeates all things. My tarot teacher (who shall remain nameless for personal reasons) taught that tarot believes religion is a cult. We could debate that; but regardless, religion is not the same thing as God.

    God, not Jesus but God, is The Great Creator. This God is what modern atheist people refer to as “the universe” (in my view, God is not the universe, but that’s another discussion) or “energy”. It is the same as Kamadhenu, who in Hindu mythology is Mother of all Gods; as Anu, who in Celtic mythology is Mother of all Gods. S/he is the Great Creator. The “God” of Gods is nearly always a hard-to-find, ‘forgotten’ God in mythology, because the Great Creator God is not generally personified. The closest you’ll find in religious texts is in Hinduism, which is really a form of mysticism and instructs that each of us is Divine.

    A belief in God is the same as understanding Hermetic Laws, too. Everything is Mental, even The All, is the first Hermetic Law. If you read the Bible, you’ll see this repeatedly throughout the Old Testament; it’s in several Books, including Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. You find it in verses that talk about everything that was is everything that is: Which is the same thing as understanding that visualisation comes before material matter.

    So how does this apply to your tarot reading?

    It doesn’t.

    Or rather, it is neither here nor there.

    The Bible exhorts you not to consort with sorceresses especially in the Old Testament, but tarot is not sorcery. The Bible also warns you away from Divination; but this is truly about warning you away from not listening to your God voice in favour of the voice of a divinor. What Christians refer to as ‘Grace’ is what I refer to as your ‘God voice’.

    Tarot may well collapse the quantum wave and cause events to occur. But a reading is also a moment of reading a singular position in time. It does not interfere with free will. It is not dictatorial. It is not something that will override the voice of God, which is that whisper, that instinct, that nudge inside you. If you make decisions based on a tarot reading – especially one that warns of injury, for example – and you do so in order to avoid that injury, then you alter the pathway of events.

    For example, if you are warned of an imminent speeding fine, and you make a decision to become a conscientious, law-abiding driver from then onwards, what is the chance of you getting a speeding fine that is correct? Very low, isn’t it?

    If you are warned of a car accident on a self-driving holiday that you’ve just started to plan, and you make a decision to change your holiday plans (such as, you decide to go sit in a resort rather than drive yourself across Indonesia), then you’ve altered the pathway of potential events in a positive way.

    What you must not do, though, is rely on a tarot reading in such close belief that you fail to listen to your God. THAT is where you’ll run into trouble. For your inner God voice is the Great Creator whispering to you, and creating your life.

    Therefore, if you have a belief in God, you can still have your tarot read.

    It just requires you to remember that:

    1 – Everything is mental, even the All

    2 – What is, is what has been (so, dwelling becomes an act of creation).

    If you’re the kind to take a tarot reading as gospel, and you believe in your God, then just don’t have your tarot read.

    If you’re the type to dwell on what you’re told as if it’s unavoidable, don’t have your tarot read.

    But if your faith in God is strong, and you have wisdom and understanding, there is no reason for you to avoid tarot.

    You’re welcome to have a conversation with me about this before you book your reading.

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    A Creative Cluster: Here’s why you need one

    February 25th, 2023

    A creative cluster is one of the most important creative tools I’ve ever used. I first discovered the concept in Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way (of which I’ve since become an evangelist). After having worked through a 12-week artistic recovery program with two friends, I now understand why the concept is so critical, and why blocked (or limited) artists often don’t have one.

    What is a creative cluster?

    A creative cluster is a small group of artists who work through The Artist’s Way together. You don’t need to be peers. You don’t even need to know each other. Hell, you don’t even have to be in the same place.

    A cluster works on the principle that a rising tide lifts all boats. The rules are simple: You must be willing to be honest and vulnerable; to listen; to be supportive and celebratory. That’s all. As a participant in a cluster, you’re there to witness, not to give advice.

    Artists often require creative recovery because they haven’t been celebrated enough. Your cluster is a group of people who can ask you questions, help you see things you maybe missed or haven’t seen, and who celebrate everything with you. My own cluster has seen me come to the absolute nadir of relationship experience, has supported me and celebrated my art. And it has inspired me in ways I could not have even imagined.

    What my cluster has taught me

    My first cluster has taught me so many things that I don’t even know where to begin. So here is a random list, in no particular order:

    • An illustrator taught me to trust my left (non-dominant) hand, to write and draw with her. I discovered that what my left hand says is really different from what my right hand says! It’s like having two people to talk to. Their perspectives are very different.
    • I learned that my left hand likes big, open, smooshy colours with pastels and fingerpainting; my right hand likes precise pencils and pens.
    • I discovered that writing at 3 A.M. is some kind of normal.
    • I’ve learned that synchrony is individual and communal: We will often find synchronies with each other when we’re focused on similar things in a week, even if we’re on opposite sides of the world.
    • I’ve learned that what blocks me may also block others, and vice versa.
    • I’ve learned that the process of recovery looks extremely similar for other artists, regardless of their form of art.
    • I’ve learned to trust strangers, and, in so doing, trust myself.

    These are huge learnings for any person, let alone any artist.

    I never thought I needed other artists

    The great lie I told myself about my creative practise was that I didn’t need a community of artists alongside me. I had told myself this robust lie since I was 19 years old, a fresh face at university. I found the community at uni to be green, home-dwelling little critters with no life experience. They were all safe, socialist, compliant little things. They went to all the literary events, and wanked about. It made me sick, honestly; and as a result I never went to a single Writers’ Festival event despite it being a requirement of my degree (and I still won awards and gained a very high GPA).

    And I never formed any bonds with any other artists. I told myself I didn’t need them. That somehow I was different, more focused, more…

    More isolated, is what I was. I was also in the depths of a codependency that, by the end of my degree, had robbed me of my creativity. It turns out that losing yourself can take your artistry from you, too.

    In any case, I then lived my life without doing much of any creative writing of any kind. I fell into music journalism and pretended to myself that that was enough. I then worked in service of other writers, and eventually just ignored the path I’d begun to take when I started.

    Therefore, when I first did The Artist’s Way, I did it solo.

    That solo journey was powerful. It unlocked possibilities in me I didn’t know existed. I went back to my first love, poetry. And as much as I told myself that it was ridiculous, I also got my first commercial book deal through that 12 weeks.

    By the end of that time, I’d gathered a few likeminded souls around me. So I pulled them together in a Telegram group. And a few months later, we embarked on this recovery process together.

    The first time around, the program was life-changing. The second time around, it melted me into a puddle and re-made me.

    Working through the program with other people gave it an energy that I can’t even begin to describe. It was a measure of accountability, and focus, and insight that I’d never encountered before. It was like group therapy for problems we didn’t know we had. We unearthed workaholism; moments that we didn’t realise had crushed us; revived old memories of when we were most strongly at our creative best, and realised why we’d let them go. We discovered people who had taken our power away, life situations that sapped us of our strength. We rediscovered ourselves, the We that had come to Earth with an artistic destiny.

    And by the end of that 12 weeks, we were different people.

    One person, an illustrator, unblocked a project he’d been working on for nearly 20 years!

    One person recovered his inner author, and began writing a novel – a few pages a day!

    I moved from poetry into literature, and realised that literature is where I’m headed.

    Along the way, life shifted for all of us. I changed my office into a studio, realised that my wardrobe doesn’t suit or fit me at all any more, and began to get rid of things out of my life that no longer worked.

    All of us realised that morning pages are necessary spiritual tools. We strive to do them every single day, and we are kind to ourselves if we can’t.

    The upshot is that I’ve realised that working with other artists is about the most empowering thing I can do. We have recovered so much of our own artistry in a group that I’m invigorated and looking to rescue as many other artists now as I can.

    I’ve found that each time you work through the program, you go deeper. You unlock more limits, discover new things about yourself. As your life changes, you can see it. It speeds up, as if the compounding effect takes over. Suddenly, boom! You’re a new person, with new eyes and new ways of thinking about the world. And alongside you are these other beings who shine with a new light.

    This is why I’m facilitating a new group in March 2023

    The new group brings in new people. I brought in two; the others brought in one or two each. We are going to work through The Artist’s Way again, from Day 1, for 12 weeks.

    I’m kicking off a third creative cluster in April 2023

    The third cluster is one in which I will not participate.

    Instead, I’m going to act purely as a facilitator. I have one person interested already, and there are only five places. That means that there are four places left. Do you want one of them?

    Here’s the deal:

    • You buy The Artist’s Way. You don’t have to read it until we start.
    • You pay a nominal facilitation fee for the program. That fee is $150.
    • You throw yourself into the creative cluster, heart and soul.

    The program is 12 weeks long, you are to do one check-in per week. And that’s all. You’ll be guided through everything else.

    So, given you’ve read this far, would you like to join us? If you’re interested, either leave a comment below, or send me a message. I’ll be opening more clusters as the months roll on. 🙂

    xx Leticia

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    Taking the Gumroad back home

    February 23rd, 2023

    Gumroad is a great platform, but I’ve decided to pull all my products out of it and bring them back home. This journey through Art SaaS has been an epic one. It simply turns out that home is best.

    I’ve decided to leave Art SaaS. Forever.

    Over the past ten years, I got swept down the art software-as-a-service plughole. Each platform promised a substantially similar thing. As I swam down the river through them, I discovered that the promises were all largely similar, and nearly all of them simply shifted the grind.

    You may recall my experience with Patreon. Or my experience with Substack. I haven’t really played with Deviant.Art, but that’s only because I see Deviant.Art as a different beast altogether… more as a giant gallery. However, its functions are becoming more standardised and I suggest that the Deviant experience will join the others.

    The journey began, truly, with Gumroad. And this is where it ends.

    I got so excited about Gumroad’s new development, and with Sahil’s (and his team’s) attitude and direction, that I even invested in the company.

    Soon after I invested, Sahil announced that his vision would be for Gumroad to become a type of software development incubator. For me, this was an immediate red flag. It said to me that the focus of Gumroad would very quickly become diluted, and that its fabulous growth and shift into an effective products platform for artists was going to disappear.

    Now, that hasn’t happened yet. But I’m calling it out early.

    When I closed down Brutal Pixie and nuked the corporation, I took every one of my digital assets and I put them up for sale on Gumroad. Since then, I’ve made one sale.

    You see, I am not interested in putting all of my content into someone else’s site. I’m not going to post blogs there when I have this one. I’m not going to use Gumroad as a community nurturing site, when I have my own newsletter. I’m not even going to use Circle–a sister company to Gumroad–to build community when I genuinely prefer Telegram.

    Building any kind of digital sales profile in the 2020s requires a type of grinding that I’m simply not willing to do. It’s a type of bone-crushing, time-consuming, all-consuming annoyance that only people without children (or lives) are willing to engage in. I’d rather be creative, or bake bread, or manage a market stall in person than waste my life doing shit that isn’t going to matter.

    The truth is that selling anything online is not what it was ten years ago. Any of these platforms require you to grind.

    And they require you to grind for them on their servers and in their platforms.

    And they disallow you the apparent luxury of exporting your materials very easily.

    But what they very cleverly do is tell you that X number of artists made X amount of money doing XYX. They tell you that they have communities who can help you. They tell you they have built all these whiz-bang somethings that are wackydoo and capable of helping you to make megabucks too.

    If you’ve got the time to waste trawling forums, anyway.

    Thus, it is after much pondering that I’ve decided to pull all my assets out of other people’s websites and bring them home.

    Gumroad is a nice platform, but Art SaaS has had its day.

    When it comes to real assets, ownership is nine-tenths of the law. The same is true of digital assets. If you own your real estate, you control what you build and what the world sees. If you own your real estate, you’re not at the whim of other companies and what they decide to do.

    Think of all those people whose Facebook pages are shut down out of the blue. Or that drop out of visibility. Without separate websites, they’re always in a position of disaster. This type of thinking ought to inform everyone’s approach to the internet, in my opinion.

    When I bring everything back to my own domain I control a number of factors.

    They include:

    1. domain visibility
    2. SEO function and capability
    3. subscriber functions
    4. email marketing assets
    5. stores, downloads, and blogs

    It also to control my payment gateways (and the fees I, or others, pay–and how that happens).

    More importantly, nobody can cancel my site or my store unless my website host suddenly decides that they’re going to do that. And if they do, I can simply spin it up again on my own server. Because I have backups.

    This level of personal management seems like overkill for some people. For me it just rings of sensibility.

    For anyone who can manage their own website (which is easy, honestly), there is no reason to go into an Art SaaS platform. The most enticing factor is the ready-built audience. The so-called ‘discovery’ factor. But even that is not what the promises suggest it will be. If you understand the basics of search engine optimisation–or you have a plugin to guide you, or both!–then ‘discovery’ can be much more effective on your own site. If you’re managing your own site, plus social media, plus Art SaaS, then you are suddenly a slave to the tech.

    Don’t be a slave to the tech. Make the tech work for you.

    In my case, making it work means having a single location for everything. A single location, one asset to manage, minimal spread, higher relevance and visibility for my own brand. It’s powerful juice.

    This means I have more downloads on offer

    As I pull products out of Gumroad, I’m adding them to my own online Downloads store.

    Keep an eye on what’s available. As I write this, I have five items on offer. Pretty soon there will be more like 15. They range from my writing and audio (such as Ultimatum) to guides for corporate and content professionals.

    If you’re thinking about doing something similar, you’re welcome to contact me

    Deciding how and where to put your materials isn’t easy. And if it’s part of your own professional practice, getting outside eyes on what you’re doing can be invaluable. I offer a free coaching taster of one hour, and this falls neatly into appropriate topics for just such a call.

    You can Contact me here.

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    The Quarterly Correspondence

    February 14th, 2023

    Let me tell you about this new project: The Quarterly Correspondence. It is a quarterly essay posted to your house, unavailable online.


    • The great, untouchable weapon (#01, March 2023)
    • I had to learn how to Wife (#02, July 2023)
    • We need Art, not Labels (#03, November 2023)
    • How to destroy Isolationism (#04, February 2024)

    Make sure you’re on the list. Go to

    Discounts available

    Background: From where does the Quarterly Correspondence emerge?

    In my art practice lately I’ve been questioning the value of being online. This has chiefly come about after an experiment in which I’ve been trolling LinkedIn with conservative views on everything from politics to womanhood.

    Without exception, those who would consider themselves to be Left or liberal in terms of political views–meaning, those who hold tight to sexual categorisation, or definitions of identity based on physical characteristics (most often race)–are triggered to the point of exasperation.

    Without exception, their responses take the form of, ‘I think you’ve missed the point…‘. This statement is then followed by long, convoluted tracts of irrelevant material, even when they’re asked a direct question. If that direct question challenges their social programming, they’re unable to answer any question that asks them to explain how X is not Y. They’re unable to accept any view that doesn’t fall in line with their own views of reality, either. I had one woman who asked me to clarify the question, ‘How is XYZ not race-based thinking?’. The answer was, ‘Well it is,’ but the dissonance forced her into vaguery.

    I’m sure that most people consider me to a bigoted, nasty, racist, right-wing Nazi as a result. Funny, isn’t it, how racist thinking is ok when you’re categorising people from one perspective but not from another?

    In any case, it’s spawned a new experiment, a new project, titled The Quarterly Correspondence.

    The Quarterly Correspondence takes my most focused writing thinking offline

    I’ve done the offline thing before, in monthly letters. Monthly is fun, but it’s also insupportable for a few reasons:

    1. it’s a challenging timeline to master, especially when you’re parenting a toddler full-time and not working full-time
    2. it doesn’t allow for the deeper thinking and careful pondering to occur, which fuels focused, beautiful and challenging works
    3. it requires a faster-paced sales cycle: Fast-paced publishing requires fast-paced sales.

    I’m not into fast anymore. I’m into slow. Slow life, slow art, real-world connection.

    What it involves

    The Quarterly Correspondence involves one letter and one essay every three months. Subscribers always begin at Issue #01.

    The essays are not for the feint-of-heart. Thus far, the planned essays are zeitgeist-challenging. They rub up against the Current Thing more often than they support it. They may ask those who have been educated in a socialist tertiary environment (which is most of us, if we’ve gone to university in the past 30 years) to shift their view.

    So given you’re here, and you’ve read this far, I’d like to invite you into Wonderland.

    correspondence - Neo in the matrix red pill blue pill

    This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill – the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill – you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.

    Morpheus, The Matrix

    Take one, or take a year

    There are two ways you can take up the Correspondence:

    You can buy just one.

    Or you can buy a year’s worth and get first four issues sent to you one after the other.

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    Why investing in artists – not art product – makes more sense.

    February 2nd, 2023

    Investing in artists – not art – makes sense. This article argues that existing financial and funding models are broken. Mending them means resolving the hidden half of the equation.

    The first half of the equation is the gap that almost every grant and software-as-a-service platform has attempted to plug: Existence and sales of product. The hidden half is not so simple. It’s about selling the process as a cultural investment.

    The two aspects of what I’m going to call MIA ‘Money in Art’ are not irreconcilable. Far from it. One of them can in fact be an outcome of and for the other.

    Now, I must point out that this piece is formational thinking. It’s not deeply researched. It’s simply me putting ideas into the world because the rest will follow on as what I’m being nudged towards emerges more fully. The points in this blog are taken entirely from my own views and experiences, so if it triggers you into angst, just go somewhere else.

    Funding models for artists are profoundly broken.

    Funding models for artists in Western countries like Australia tend to focus on two aspects. The first is a centralised, government-controlled source of grants. The second is sales of product. Similar to the first is a swathe of other, similar types of sources. Critically, they are nearly always of a grant-like nature. Grants do great things for artists and enable much brilliant work to see the light of day. But there are two things wrong with them.

    The first issue with grants, particularly government-controlled grants, is that they shape the direction of artistic endeavour because they prioritise irrelevant factors. Those factors are race, sexual preference, your level of ability (physical, emotional, intellectual). While the quality of your application is still important, if you don’t meet any of the Current Thing requirements, your chances of even being given a shot at a grant are vastly reduced. It’s discrimination of the first order, and criticising it makes you a bigot.

    Those grants that are not government-controlled are often controlled by philanthropists, either private or public. Into the category of ‘public’, I categorise organisational philanthropy: Trusts, for example. These grants will always follow the vision of the philanthropist behind the establishment, which really is the reason why they exist: They are not able to invest in any project that contradicts the vision and values of the Trust (or association, or charity, etc) or they’ll be in breach of their own constitutions. The key here is charity, however. The very word ‘philanthropy’ tells you the nature of this giving:

    …love of humankind, especially as evinced in deeds of practical beneficence and work for the good of others…

    Philanthropy at Etymology Online

    Artists, as much as they are often deeply attached to the mythology that being an artist requires you to be completely broke and alone and living a disastrous life (which is why so many artists don’t practise their art), resent being seen as a charitable case.

    The second issue with grants is that most of them (not all, but most) focus on the creation of product, or that otherwise have a visible outcome. For example: Creation of new work (= the new work); touring (= a tour); exhibitions (= enough product to hang on a wall); publishing (= books); experimentation (= shift in product)

    There are some that are not product-based. For example, professional skills development, creative development. However, many of them have actual outcomes and attachments such as travel, shifts in format, or actual manufacturing of works.

    Some are genuinely about artistic process. They are often limited to established artists, however, as if new and emerging artists – who may not have an ‘appropriate’ body of work – do not require this honour. They’re so few and far between – or require such huge commitment, such as living in another country without your children – that one could very easily construe them as being the ones reserved for ‘honourable’ artists: Those who already have a career, and whose career has demonstrated them as being worthy of money. (There’s that Poor Artist trope again.)

    On the other side of the equation are the ‘sell direct to consumer’ models. These models are typically software-as-a-service (SAAS) platforms. You know the type: Substack, Patreon, Gumroad, Deviant.Art, Twitch, Flickr, Etsy, Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), RedBubble… They all attempt to do the same thing: Give artists the gift of ‘discoverability’ plus the ability to sell their work direct to the public, create paywalls, etc. The trouble is, selling direct to consumer is tiring. It’s a real grind. It requires a massive investment in time and learning in order to make it fly. And most of these platforms require artists to put their intellectual property into someone else’s real estate.

    While there’s no issue with using someone else’s real estate in order to bring your work to the public, it does have its downside. If you’re not in line with the Current Thing, you can be cancelled and all your material pulled without so much as a by-your-leave. You have to maintain multiple websites.

    And worst of all, most of the promises made to artists simply sell artists down the river. Like Substack and Medium, for example.

    Some of them allow artists to gain control over their work, such as KDP. Then, if the artist is savvy enough to do all of the work of a commercial publisher (artwork, editing, commercial fit, launch and marketing plans and execution), they can actually make a fantastic living simply by selling product. But there’s a downside to this: You become a whore to the marketplace if you are going to make enough money by selling product. I know one author who, in order to retain her visibility to her chosen audience, is bound to release a certain number of books per year. Without visibility her sales will drop, and if her sales drop then she’s going to lose her lifestyle pretty fast. With enough back-catalogue you can mitigate that drop, but the visibility still matters.

    Both types of money-generation are necessary, in some respects. But they’re both broken.

    Underlying that break is the fact that artists very often hold negative views about money.

    pen on yellow and red board
    Photo by Steve Johnson on

    Artists’ financial and business literacy matters.

    If you’ve got a business mind, then you’ve already calculated the requirements of managing the business side of being an artist. If you’re a writer who self-publishes, you want to be savvy to the movements of the market, understand trends, be capable of tracking all of your numbers and be able to understand patterns in that data in order to utilise them. If you’re not strong on this kind of business intelligence, good luck to you.

    If you’re going to manage the business side of selling your product yourself, you also have to be savvy to the nature of running a business. This means knowing how to reduce your tax, knowing what and how to claim components of your work (from where you work to what that work consumes), the impact of selling internationally, the nature of royalties, how licensing works, and much much more. In Australia, even copywriters (who often don’t consider themselves artists) don’t understand how to leverage licensing, for example. There is so much money that creatives leave on the table that it will blow your mind.

    Many of those artists who are not savvy about the money or the numbers will just get a job for the cash and spend the rest of their time working on their art. That’s most artists, by the way. The rest will freelance, while propping up a dream to work on their art… before quickly realising that freelancing is a more-than-fulltime gig, and the dream of working on art firmly stays a dream.

    A few will live from grant to grant. If you’ve had a grant before, you know the process far better than everyone else, so you’re already more likely to succeed.

    Regardless of the way in which an artist manages his or her business, financial and business literacy really does matter. It matters because that capability can genuinely inform a freedom to create. When money is a problem, or you’re always focused on it (grants), or you’re always chasing the market, you’re in survival mode. You can create in survival mode, but it’s pushing boulders uphill by yourself.

    Regardless. The issue with both grants and selling product to consumers is that both funding models miss the point of funding Art.

    The point of funding art is to fund the process, because that’s what art is. The by-product is a thing, an object, a visible something. That’s not art. Once that exists, the artist has already moved on to whatever is the next process.

    woman lying on floor while painting
    Photo by Anna Shvets on

    Art is a process artists engage in, not a thing artists create.

    When you think about ‘art’, there’s a good chance that you immediately think of:

    • books
    • movies
    • performances
    • paintings
    • sculpture
    • photography
    • music
    • … etc.

    But these things are not art. These things are the by-products of art. They are what comes out of the other end of Art. Unless you’re an artist yourself, you will struggle with the notion that Art is a process. So if you’re struggling with this idea, I want you to at least grasp that art is a soular act:

    Art is an act of the soul, not the intellect. When we are dealing with people’s dreams – their visions, really – we are in the realm of the sacred. We are involved with forces and energies larger than our own. We are engaged in a sacred transaction of which we know only a little: the shadow, not the shape.

    Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way

    In a society that champions science over heart, atheism over religion, the material over the supernal, being an artist is just not the done thing. This is the case despite the fact that what people consume when they’re mainlining Netflix is art; that they relax with music playing; that their own idols are artists. The quote-unquote ‘lucky few’; enmeshed in a mythology of luck.

    The truth is much simpler. It’s that artists are closer to god (source, universe) than you are, and know how to let all the other shit go.

    Art is about listening to whatever comes.

    Art is akin to listening. When you unlock your natural creativity, you do so by a process of learning to listen to what’s coming to you. It’s a nudge, an image, a whispering. An idea. A feeling to write this line, paint that colour, pinch that clay, move in a particular way. It’s not an act of the intellect, but a driving force that comes to you from somewhere else.

    Artists are considered always to be ‘working’ because they’re always listening.

    They understand that when a nudge asks them to look at a book title, and then someone makes a similar comment, and then they find a resource on the same topic, that this is not coincidence. This is really the voice of god saying, ‘Hey, look at this. This is important to you.’

    The manifesty people call it ‘synchrony’. I prefer ‘serendipity’, because ‘synchrony’ suggests machinery whereas ‘serendipity’ suggests magic.

    That unexplainable magic is at the heart of Art.

    When you are in flow with something that is asking you to create it, you create it in the way that it wants to exist. A fantastic example is the decision to make a box. When you decide to make a box, you’ll ponder it, think about it, attempt it. You’ll screw things up, maybe start over a few times. The box that you eventually make will be the box that wanted to be made: You rationalise that you wanted to make it this way, but the process says otherwise.

    Art is the same. Your creation already exists. It’s just coming through your hands, asking you to be the person to breathe life into it, to make it visible to others.

    And in the process, it changes you.

    This is why many artists – especially recording artists – explain that they never look at, read, listen to their work. The work is past. The work is gone.

    It’s because the work is the process, and the outcome is a by-product of a magical process. The magic moves on. And so do they.

    This is why funding the process, investing in the process, is more important than investing in the product!

    So if you are investing in the process, what does it mean?

    Investing financially in the process of art means that you are investing financially in the artist rather than the product that the artist produces.

    It’s the artist who engages in the process. It’s the artist who listens for what to create. It’s the artist who commits time, takes risks, and works continuously through the process in order to create.

    The investment becomes an investment in the future, in the potential, for artefacts to be created and enjoyed by others. The artist is the asset: Without artists, there is no entertainment, no commentary, no fresh eyes on the world. Artists don’t see the world the same way as everyone else. There is something else driving them, something that bubbles through them. This is a genuine asset to any culture, any community, any society, even if what bubbles through them is sitting at a stark ninety degrees from what is acceptable, usual, or mainstream. ‘Culture’ may well be the domain of the intellect, but it is only this once it has been touched by (enriched by) the heart of an artist.

    confident senior businessman holding money in hands while sitting at table near laptop
    Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on

    What does it mean to invest in artists?

    Investing in an artist means seeing the person as the asset, and their process as the point of the investment. It is understanding that the process generates by-products, and that those by-products may be, or become, financially valuable also.

    The financial valuation of a person becomes a very sensitive issue. It raises notions of ‘ownership’, concerns about exploitation, bothersome ideas about someone with deep pockets directing a person to act in particular ways or create particular things (commonly known as ‘selling out’). These are valid concerns, but they only exist if one sees the investment in artists as a heartless transaction.

    Because the process of art is genuinely heart-led, so must the investment in an artist.

    Because the investment is in the process, the investment is not about what that process creates.

    The investment is about enabling process to occur, enabling it to continue.

    Before you react with a simple, ‘oh that’s just someone providing a living allowance for someone else’, really consider what this means. Any investor will understand whatever asset they’re investing in. If they play the stock market, they understand that what they spend today may disappear – poof! – at the whim of the market, never to be recovered. If they invest in real estate, agriculture, companies and startups, products or commodities, investors will do their due diligence. They work to understand the team behind a company; the likelihood of ‘success’ (however the that is defined based on the investment opportunity); the history; the potential; the context and the numbers. Investors in real estate will invest in what is today financially valueless empty land, in order to get a long run-up into a highly valuable future allotment. Investors in startups will take a punt on a piece of technology after assessing sociocultural trajectory, customer need, and the capabilities of the team. Investors in commodities will understand the history of the commodity and the movements of the market over a very long period of time, before deciding where to put their cash. So why would investing in an artist be any different?

    The difference in investing in an artist is that the investor must know the artist, and the artist must enable investors to know them.

    If an artist has an existing body of work, the investor must immerse him- or herself in that body of work in order to understand the types of material in which the artist engages.

    If an artist has any marketing channels, the investor must immerse him- or herself in those channels (blogs, newsletters, social media) in order to come to some understanding of who this person is.

    An investor must engage with an artist to understand the artist’s process.

    But at no point in the process must an investor confuse the artist with the by-product, because they’re not the same thing. Here’s an apt (shortened) quote from Ricky Gervais about that:

    How subjective it is. How one person, some people can find them hilarious, some find them the least funny person in the world. When someone says to me about another comedian, they say, “Oh, they’re not funny,” even if I agree with them, I stand up… I say, “You can’t say that. You gotta say you don’t find them funny.” I hate it when people say, “That joke was offensive.” I say, “No, you gotta say you found it offensive.” It’s about feelings, and feelings are personal. And there’s loads of types of comedy, and comedy evolves. [ … ] But if you’re the type of person to revel in someone getting canceled for summat they said ten years ago, you’re just ensuring that one day you’ll be canceled for summat you said today. You can’t predict what’ll be offensive in the future. You don’t know who the dominant mob will be. [ … ] Some people can’t separate the art form from the artist’s personal life.

    Ricky Gervais, Super Nature

    Let’s consider boundaries and expectations in an artist-as-asset investment.

    Given the artist is not the art, and given the by-product is not the art, then investing in an artist is investing in a person. Investing in a person requires the establishment of boundaries and expectations, so that there is no undue influence on the artist. Those boundaries and expectations also prevent exploitation, derogatory treatment, and so on.

    As an investor, you would do your legwork to understand the person with whom you’re dealing. This means knowing who they are, what drives them, what their values are, how they interact with the world (or not). You want to be in their inner circle, in some sense, or at least on the way there.

    You also want to have a very clear understanding about your own motivations. If you’re only interested in the by-product, then your investment’s boundaries and expectations must be focused on the by-product, which means you’re effectively commissioning work. If you’re interested in the artist, then your legwork will show you whereabouts in the process the artist could use the most help. Knowing this, you can then shape your investment offer on the basis of that need.

    Let’s be honest, this is just a sales process. The challenge is that artists have to learn how to sell themselves and their process as an investment. I’ll let you think about that for a moment before we move on.

    Investing in an artist therefore asks you to be very clear about how and why you’re investing and what you expect in return.

    For example, investing in the process may require you to have visibility over the process. That may be personal discussions, an expectation of being written private letters, or even fun monthly catchups in which an artist shares his or her doodling over coffee. Whatever you agree.

    The boundaries and expectations that you establish between you will in some way depend on the nature of the artist. Are they new, emerging or established? If they’re new or emerging, then they’ll need more help or time or access to professional development, mentors or marketing perhaps. But regardless of their stage of work, the key thing to invest in is time to for them to create.

    Whatever you choose to invest in, you will have to understand why it exists and how it furthers the artist’s artistic practice and process.

    Once you establish the nature of the investment (time, professional development, mentorship, marketing or publicity, etc) then you can agree with the artist the ways in which you’ll see your investment put to good use.

    You can take a lead from SAAS platforms like Patreon, which asked artists to create a ‘thing’ as a ‘reward’ for an investment. Often, those ‘things’ were by-products. But sometimes they were private letters, access to journals and thinking, or dinner once a quarter. You’re investing in a person’s capacity to engage in a process, so discussing together how you can see that process is critical to whatever the boundaries of that investment look like.

    In other words, you want to know your money is being used for what you intend. An artist isn’t going to produce a monthly board report. But they could. It might just look a bit different.

    Some ways that you can benefit, as an investor

    Aside from the very obvious benefit of feeling good that you’re investing heart-wise in an artist whose potential, trajectory and work you believe in, there are some other ways you can benefit.

    The first is that coming to know an artist has the very strong potential to unlock your own inner artist, your own creativity. This relationship can very quickly become an intellectual melting pot, in which you become privy to new ways of thinking about the world. That river runs deep, and it will affect you meaningfully in many ways.

    Financially, however, there may be other benefits. For example, if the artist is savvy about business and finance, you may benefit from sharing in the profits, proceeds or royalties of by-product sales. You may gain access to intellectual property you wouldn’t otherwise access, and you may agree that you can use it in some way (like, framed early sketches; use of music for commercial purposes; free copies of books for your nieces; etc). When sales of by-product rise, so do your financial returns: Therefore, investing in marketing and publicity skills or services for an artist become meaningfully financial.

    You also benefit on a social and cultural level, over the long-term. Any investment in an artist and his or her process enables art to continue. Enabling art to continue enriches our lives: It enables by-products that entertain us, shape us, reflect us. They give us new things to thing about. They support us emotionally, help us through dark times, show us that we’re not alone.

    These intangible and often long-term benefits are the greatest benefits of investing in artists.

    That’s the true value of investing in artists instead of by-products described as art.

    Sold! Now how do I find artists in whom to invest?

    Finding an artist in whom to invest is a challenge, not least because artists don’t sell themselves or their process as an asset. So here is what I recommend:

    • Ask your friends if they know any artists in any field you most enjoy
    • Look through your LinkedIn network
    • Pay attention to the books and blogs you read, the music you listen to, the visual art you enjoy, the performances you go to. Instead of looking at the companies, look at the artists in front of you. You’re not investing in Australian Dance Theatre or the State Theatre Company, you’re investing in a dancer or a playwright or an actor. You’re not investing in a recording studio, you’re investing in a recording artist. You’re not investing in a publishing house, website or blog, you’re investing in an author.

    Once you find someone (or someones), your work begins. Buy and consume their by-products. Follow them to see if you can gain insights into who they are. Subscribe to their newsletters and channels.

    If they light you up, open a conversation.

    From there, the future is up to you.

    You can invest in me, if you choose to.

    I’ve opened the doors to this experiment by allowing investment in my artistic process.

    Investors receive:

    • A monthly board report
    • A seat at a quarterly board meeting
    • The Quarterly Correspondence, gratis
    • 15% off all services, and any products that I sell 1:1

    If you’d like to join this experiment with me, go and invest now. We will pen something collaboratively at end of Financial Year 24 about what it’s been like (and whether it’s worthwhile).

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