People often ask about my inspirations and how I developed @the14thfactory. This is my story...
Perceptions are complicated. Who knows the truth about anyone. People often assume I have my shit together and I’m a successful artist, well known, and great work. Nothing could be further from the truth. I’m no different from all independent artists with no fixed income. There is never enough time or resources but I am persistent and my drive to create is unwavering.
Heavy is the head that wears the crown (2009)
There are periods I make money and my output accelerates, I use that income to try to further my career but it never lasts and then broke which doesn’t help one's creative process. Those less comfortable times, together with having to manage one's life and career, can be exhausting. But you can't complain because many have it worse.
I dream of long periods where I have enough resources to simply be left alone to create but they happen rarely. Most of my time I am insecure and have little chance of planning any kind of stability, home, or family, which I had always hoped for.
Simon painting in a studio in Beijing back in 2011
Circumstances pull one back and forth and kill motivation. Occasionally good sales or opportunities offer temporary relief and I play catch up with overdue bills and bookkeeping, initiate new projects, paint, then money dwindles again and it’s back to stress. Right now I’ve been low for three years straight. But my need to create is never diminished to the point of getting a day job. I have so many ideas lined up, more than a lifetime's worth, begging to be realized.
When one is calm and can pay bills and have time in the studio, it’s like falling in love again and my mind is awash with new ideas endlessly.
Up early, work 12 hours, no meetings, music loud or podcasts so I can learn while I work, cut socializing. Get disciplined, get to work.
That’s how I’ve produced and sold hundreds of paintings and drawings, written multiple films scripts, an autobiography, shot 5000 hours of film, photographs, became a 3rd-degree black belt in kendo, built dozens of installations and a whole list, including non-art adventures, that didn’t make it to social media because I was too busy creating to post it.
But the worst thing is when you’re not creating you tend to destroy. Often oneself.