As soon as I came up to Los Angeles I began seeking out places to read tarot cards, a nice skill I had in my back pocket, which landed me at a crystal shop in Atwater Village with a very strong Goddess aesthetic. I was there for 5 years, accumulating a small collection of stones and knowledge, meeting Astrologers and Light Workers and the regular geo-nerds who came in once a week.
You come in and out of that vibe, because any Spiritual practice takes a lot of energy. And we’re already pouring in the same kind of energy into Artwork. But I learned a few tricks that I still use from that time, and here is a taste of the ‘tried-and-trues’ if you’d like to dabble into Metaphysics.
Standard Manifestation/Banishment Spell
This is the first thing I learned and one of the only spells I still use:
When: Full moon for banishing, New moon for manifesting. Full moon also works when you have big desire and you want full power.
What: You’ll need a candle, the color depends on the nature of your desire. You can google this.
You’ll also need to write your intention down on a sticky note. You place the candle in a bowl of water seasoned with some salt and garnished with rose petals or certain herbs for what you’re planning, again all Googleable.
IT REALLY MATTERS that you put yourself in a clear state, so go out for a walk before you do a spell, mediate if you can, but make sure you aren’t annoyed or distracted.
You find a safe area of your house and put your intention card down, and the bowl of water with the candle in it sitting on top. It sits and burns for the whole volume of the candle, so the bathroom has been the safest place for people.
I memorize my intention and say it over and over again while I’m lighting the candle, willing it into my breath.
After the candle burns out (sometimes you’ve phrased your intention vaguely, or it really isn’t what you desire. But if you thought about it and it IS, just reset and light the candle each time you need to.
Ahhhh! That feels nice. You’ve done something. This is GREAT. While I’m at, let’s cover a few more Mystic basics.
Accumulating a Standard Stone set
There’s no right or wrong for me here, stones mean particular things- get one for what ails you.
The gist though is: sage your stones to clear them, program them with a purpose, and charge them up with moonlight.
A nice set to start with is a type of quartz (amplification) paired with what you were drawn to at the crystal shop. Most mystics encourage a black stone for energy protection, and for some reason Tourmaline has made its way to the top of that chart. I like Jet for its light weight and the shapes it can come in, but this I’ll leave up to you. The only other stone I think is essential is Kyanite, for it helps to direct your intuition when pondering spell work or doing a tarot spread. I’d keep a piece with your cards for this purpose.
Here is a Standard Tarot Spread. This is a present spread, that takes the shape of a cross.
1. This is your signifier card or the root of your question. What ultimately you need to hear and consider the present state of things in your life.
2. Physical Card: this is how your life looks on this physical plane, how things seem to “actually” be.
3. Intellectual Card: this is how your mind is analyzing the situation, what you’re ruminating on.
4. Spiritual Card: a card of guidance, how you’re processing this in the subconscious.
5. Emotional Card: how your emotions are processing your current situation.
And, Astrology for Dummies
A clear natal chart reading is good for anyone wanting to know how aspects of their personality has affected the outcomes of their life thus far.
However, I think Astrology has now been handed over to the world of memes. Check out @drunkastrology @trashbag_astrology to see what I mean, they’re funny but certainly not Science. @santuarywrld @costarastrology are more educational and social media-y, but I’m skeptical on calling them a resource. Stick with your books for now, The Only Astrology Book You’ll Ever Need by Joanna Woolfolk and Sextrology by Starsky & Cox being two of my faves.
Now, let’s move on to specifics for Artists! Starting with: WHO AM I?
My name is Zac Monday and I have been around and have avoided the Los Angeles Art scene for the past 10 years. I was apart of the inaugural Made in LA at the Hammer Museum back in 2012, and I’ll perform in the streets of the city (high/low). I’m basically doing what visual arts do; trying to find the bridge between their practice, and making a buck to support it.
I am a craftsperson/performance Artist, and labels ARE helpful for advertising to others and career modeling which I suggest (read below). I think Artists put up a lot of resistance around language to describe their roles and abilities, but the world works at a base ‘supply & demand’ economy, and if you’re struggling finding those keywords to clue others in so you can ‘sell’ what you’ve got is essential. Ain’t no shame in the game.
Take a look at this list I made and see if it helps bring words to the kind of career you want (for now):
A survey into Career Modeling: WowZers! I wish this were a modeling career, but it’s not. I think it’s a good idea to figure out what avenue of Artist you want to experience for 5 year stretches. Find artists you respect, and read about the road they went on to get there. You’ll find time isn’t as concerning as it seems to be.
(I look at this list like a video-game character selection menu, if that helps.)
1. The Craftsperson: This allows you to sell your wares online, or work for an artist while being able to hone in on your specialties, and discover new methods in your chosen crafts. Either can certainly work for supporting you during this time. If you have skills that relate to another business, such as construction or graphic design this can be a great equalizer for making time for your own practice. You can have a freelance work schedule with these. Social media has been amazing for illustrators and fashion designers- it doesn’t apply to all artists, but if you can build your fan base and sell your merchandise it can profit you enough to sustain. Even if you’re using it as a growing portfolio, make sure you do the littlest amount of research on the hashtags that make it easy to find the work you’ve posted. (Minor note: Don’t concern yourself with being comparative online, use this platform as a piece in itself, for when you have the opportunity to share your work with someone you deem important.)
2. The Museum / Gallery Circuit Queen: This is more luck of the draw, social connections, plus making provocative daring work. But, this being the role that relates to the World Art Market at large, it can be the most vile for your soul. If you have a streak of being in group museum shows, scored what I call a ‘record deal’ with a gallery, or find your work being circulated in print or online a lot- buckle in. This can be quite a rollercoaster, and it can be hard to see how this pays off in the long run- but this is where you can suddenly have a spot of fame or a big check heading your way. I would look toward sensible artists who have longevity- Kara Walker comes to mind, to curb your expectations a bit.
3. Teaching Artist: You know them, you love them, and this is the path I’ve been on. There’s some security here, and that is so important for an Artist. There may be an attitude that, ‘Those who can’t do, teach.’ I feel a level of undesired responsibility when it comes to the actual work of teaching. However, it is through teaching especially at College level that you can find critical art conversations still occurring, these grant you access to Artists floating in for talks and studio visits. Whatever the level, there is something to be said for watching others grow in Art, and the adoration students have for you unlocking a bit of belief they have in themselves is WORTH IT.
4. Romantic Wanderer: Take five years and bounce from residency to residency OR get a job you don’t care about, something here or there so you can devote your off-time to working on your Art. This is great for anyone who needs a change, you can discover a lot by being in the gritty real world and working on it. Have a plan for security, find ways to sell your work- prints IMO being the most sold item from Artists. If you don’t make 2-D work, just take a picture of whatever it is and print THAT. Its something especially your friends can buy for $20, and if you have 5 friends- there’s your phone bill for the month.
All this being said, you can juggle a few of these hats at a time. Maybe you pass from hat to hat as time goes on. Any order is fine, and you’ll find that some of these naturally come to an end. The POINT is that you find something to further your work. Even NOT making work for 10 years only to come back to a revolutionary love of making is an amazing experience. Don’t be too hard on yourself for ‘killing a dream’, you’ll find these things can circle back fairly easy as time etches on. GOOD LUCK!
And finally a point of comfort during this time, the worlds of Ms. Badu: Friends, Fans, and Artists must meet.
5 BASIC TIPS
1. Make yourself available Online. If you don’t have a website, build one (wix.com makes its very simple). If you have 2D or video work, make an Instagram for it and hashtag the hell out of it. Galleries and Museums are doing ‘virtual’ galleries so you want fresh images of your work just in case, and they can accommodate more artists because of this and you want to be ready to go.
2. You have something to sell, you do. Prints are the best selling and a fairly easy thing to make these days. No matter what you have, take a picture of it and slap it on a poster. These can easily translate to greeting cards, t-shirts, any merchandise you can think of. If you’re too principled for that, good on ya, and in my experience they SELL.
3. Apply for grants and financial aid. Can they make this any harder? But for reals, try to make some room for the application fees in your wallet, and treat it like a Linkedin account. Put your best foot forward with a succinct artist statement and crisp images of your work. Professionals who aren’t artists spend weeks on their cover letters and resume, and we have to do the same with images and explanation. You’ll probably discover something new about your work from doing this process.
4. New skills. Even 10 minutes a day on your work puts energy on it. Leave your mark on something. This is a such a good time when online universities are offering low-cost classes, take a class that would enhance the knowledge around your work. Watch a YouTube video on how to make something. Idle hands…
5. Commiserate with Community. Whether online at various niche social media accounts, or sending an email to an old Artist chum- REACH OUT. This is a crazy time, but anything can be innovated, and you can be on the precipice of it all. Commiserating is a great way to snap back into optimism around your work. Share resources and pains at the same time!
To purchase Zac’s work get in touch with Zac and use our discount code QOOA10. You can find him via www.zacmonday.com and instagram @zeemonday