Art and Manifestation

In recent years I discovered that there is a belief that art can manifest things into being. I’ve read that this is also possible with writing. The Scottish graphic novelist Grant Morrison, in interviews, mentioned that he would find himself in the same kind of strange situations he would write about in his comic books shortly after penning them and putting them out into the world. It could be argued that some of these situations may have become self fulfilling prophecies. An example would be if you wrote about being out in the Mohave Desert and getting into trouble with a bunch of scorpions and after writing about it, flew out to the Mohave, wandered around for a few days and got stung by a scorpion. Naturally if you put yourself in that position it’s more likely to happen. If you wrote a fictional story about yourself winning the lottery, there’s obviously more chance of your “fiction” manifesting in real life if you bought a lottery ticket. In some ways these instances could be explained away as slightly self fulfilling, but there are other times when it seems we can say something out loud, write something, or even draw something and eventually it happens without really intending it to happen.

It reminds me of something the writer David Icke has said on occasion “Energy

The model Mayflower Ship in Plymouth Massachusetts, (Photo by James)

flows where attention goes”. I’m not sure if that’s his quote or if he borrowed it, but I think there could be something to that. I’m still not 100 percent sure how much I believe in it, and whether these things are “coincidence”. I know there are many who say there is no such thing as coincidence.

I’ll tell you a few personal stories that relate to this in my own life. For a few years I’ve held an interest in maps. I can pinpoint roughly around the time the interest in maps appeared. It was years ago when I first set foot on U.S soil.

I know that sounds bizarre, but thoughts of Leif Erikson, Erik the Red and Columbus came to me and I wondered about the natives that lived there. I thought about the pilgrims who first stepped foot off the Mayflower. I went to the Appalachian festival and met people who lived in or around the mountains. That carried through to the next year, when I visited the U.S again. This time I was on a plane flight home from the U.S and I was flying over Greenland. Seeing the snow peaked mountains in the distance, all the way to the southern coast where you saw icebergs floating around in the sea surrounding it.

Greenland as seen from above (Photo by James)

It was a great scene, and from there I naturally thought about the people that lived there, which lead me onto the Vikings. Then I thought again about what it would have been like to explore these countries without travelling 400 mph through the sky. Instead of the 9 hour flight I was now used to between Ireland and the U.S, what would it feel like for the Irish travellers making their way to New York and Boston from Ireland during the potato famine? I bought books on exploration, including a huge book on the old maps from the exploration era; amazing maps created during the time the Europeans discovered the North American continent, the Australian continent and so on.

About 2 years later I drew a self portrait of myself studying a map of Ireland and the UK. It was more a representation of the fact that a lot of my communications with people happened to be through the internet and the frustration that comes with that as a young person. (continued below)

A “self portrait” of sorts on the left, and sketching out my very first map for my local town

It would be a further six years later before I got a call from Art , a member of my local town’s community group. Art asked if I would be interested in applying to illustrate the town map. So I applied and got the job. Now the town map can be seen throughout the town in four outdoor areas and also inside the tourist centre. The map can also be found inside the brochure which is available in many places throughout town. Some years there are close to a million visitors visiting the area from all around the world, and you can imagine it gives me great happiness to see foreigners using my illustrated map.

Did all of this come about from my interest in maps and that I drew myself signbushmillsstudying one? Is it just a coincidence? I don’t know. I can’t claim there is anything mysterious to it. What I can tell you with truthfulness is that I had never put my artwork out there in regards to anything “map” related. Granted, Art, who is now my friend, happened to see a few Leprechaun postcards I’d illustrated in the local shops, but a few whiskey drinking leprechauns is quite a different thing altogether than planning out an illustrated town map. He didn’t even know I had an interest in maps. From the map in my hometown, I went on to illustrate a few more maps for other towns and groups.

Three of Pentacles from the Twisted Tarot Tales horror comic deck. The Artist illustrates and manifests a monster.

The sceptic in me reminds me that I have drawn thousands of illustrations over the years, and of many diverse things. I’ve drawn cities, trees, cowboys, cats, dogs, robots, monsters, knights and maidens, fire, water, sea and sky. Hey, I’m about to draw a few Chinese Christmas decorations tonight. As an artist working from a script or on the advice of your co partner, or from a client’s plans, you will find yourself drawing things you never thought you’d draw. I think to myself; If I’ve drawn all these thousands of illustrations of such diverse things, wouldn’t they have manifested things into real life too? I mean, couldn’t it be argued that if I drew millions of dollars, then I would manifest millions of dollars into my life? I am still at that stage where I think there is “something” to this stuff, but not too sure exactly what. For example when I was younger I dreamed that my artwork would be found from Japan all the way to California. I envisioned people from Japan and California looking at my work and being inspired. It sounds like a lofty goal, but depending on which way you look at it, it has more or less came true.

We’ve had Japanese customers, and we’ve had customers from California buying our tarot decks, and Japanese and American tourists have picked up our illustrated town brochures here in Ireland. Without an exaggeration I can say my artwork has traveled to or been seen by people from the four corners of the earth.

The next strange thing to happen was the following. As family members often do, they’ll ask you if you’re working on any new projects, or what you’re currently working on now. This particular family member was not impressed that I had been working on a tarot deck, which I completely understand. From a religious perspective, most tarotists already know that most Christians do not look too kindly on anything tarot related, and this family member was very interested in working his way up in the church. Knowing this, and knowing his reaction from the first deck, I didn’t think there was much point in mentioning something that you know beforehand is going to annoy them. At the time I was working on the second Tarot deck, Simply Deep, and I knew that by my mentioning work on a second deck, it would ruin the mood. Who wants to ruin the mood at a family get together if they can avoid it? So I did what anyone would do in that situation who wasn’t really working on anything other than the thing they can’t mention…I told him I was working on a children’s book for someone in Rhode Island. It was a lie of course, and yes, part of me feels bad about it, but I also didn’t want to say I’m working on nothing. For my family, working on nothing would be as bad as working on a Tarot deck! So why Rhode Island? Why the tiniest state in the U.S? Your guess is as a good as mine.

I didn’t know anything about Rhode Island and chose it randomly. A couple of

Art and words merge. A “self portrait” of Christine and I before we met. When I was much younger I did not know that there was a whole belief system based on the idea that we can manifest things into our lives through art and writing. Art and writing can be used for meditation and to envision things. Some create “vision boards” for that very purpose.

years later I struck up a friendship with Christine online, who, at the time of the “lie” about the children’s book, I did not know, and flew out to meet her in Rhode Island. Of all the places she could have come from, she came from Rhode Island (Ok so she may have been born in Massachusetts but has lived in a town basically bordering R.I and has spent much of her life around Rhode Island). A coincidence? Possibly.

So what about the children’s book? Well, as strange as this may sound, this year I started doing work for a client who lives in Rhode Island, and who has asked if I would illustrate a few of her children’s books. This lady comes from an area situated about 7 miles from where Christine was living at the time I met her. (both ladies didn’t know each other until when we began working on projects together).

Again, this may be a coincidence but out of all of the states in the U.S I’ve never worked on a children’s book in any one of them, except for Texas, and that was years before I’d told my little white lie to my family member regarding Rhode Island. It remains to be seen if I actually do illustrate this lady’s children’s books, but I really hope so. If she still wants me to do so, it will be after the project I am currently working on for her.

One of the labels I illustrated for

I think that manifestation is a powerful thing. I am sure that if being able to manifest things like this is “real”, then you will also have manifested things in your life too. These instances may not come to your mind straight away, but if you think about it you might be surprised how many things have happened in your life after some serious thought; things that may have happened that you did not actively strive for. Many of these things that have happened to me have been blessings, but I have not necessarily “earned” them. However maybe earning them is not important. Maybe appreciating them when they come is what it’s all about.

When I illustrate the candle labels for I try to visualise the desired outcome of each candle. So for example the “lucky money” labels, I envisioned what it would be like walking down the street and finding a 100 dollar note! For the Prosperity labels, i imagine just that; a prosperous life, not just in a financial sense but having prosperity in love, in life, in happiness too, since these things are as important as being financially secure. I imagine the person wanting to manifest that money and prosperity should probably do the same but I think as the artist, putting good vibes into the image could do no harm.

This comes completely by coincidence while writing this article, but over at Jacqueline currently has an offer on all orders over $101.00. Free shipping from now until Thursday. (U.S. and Canadian residents only) Nice!

Since I have yet to manifest that one million dollars, (hey, i’m working on it!) as a freelance artist I am always available for work on your projects.

We would love to hear your thoughts on this. Do you have any personal experiences of manifesting things into your life through song, art, meditation, writing or other? Do you have any tips on how to create the greatest possible manifestations? We’d love to hear from you!

5 Things You SHOULD Do To Sell Your Art Online.

Like my earlier article, entitled “5 things you shouldn’t do to sell your art online“, I speak from the perspective of being an artist in the Tarot community, but I think you may be able to take something away from it regardless of which art community you find yourself in.

1, Check Your Mental Attitude

Most artists I’ve encountered feel downtrodden because their art is not selling, not even enough to pay the rent or the groceries. Above all things though one must remain positive and be prepared to learn how to sell your work. Without learning how to sell your work, you’re like a potato farmer in a world of potato growers. You’ve produced great potatoes but who cares when i have literally tonnes of them to pick from? Sell me them! Tell me why your potato is better than your competitor? When the world is falling down around you, learn to push through it and continue on creating great work. Only those who keep going will finally make it but you must learn the art of selling your wares…

Book_Images2, Read lots of Sales Books

Being an artist is only half the battle. Sadly creating great artwork is probably the least important aspect when it comes to selling the work although of course that helps too.

How many times have you heard an amazing band playing amazing music and are stunned to find that not only do they not have a record deal, but hardly anyone has heard of them? Probably a lot. I know i have. In fact sometimes it annoys me. To be honest it annoys me more when you hear a local band who has been trying to get their music out there for years yet have no online presence in the “Internet age”. No business card, no website, no songs on Youtube. They appear to want to be found yet they’re hiding so how does that work?

Then you then go on to be equally stunned when you hear the latest offense upon the ears that passes for popular music and you see that not only are they signed by a big label, but they are highly sought after by the populace. “Surely the populace can’t be that beaten down that they think this is amazing music can they?” you ask yourself. Of course not.

Often what you’re experiencing is the power of hype and most of the time creating hype is rather costly. Big companies can afford to create the hype but more than likely you’re an artist like me who is concerned with paying the rent and don’t have the money for huge commercials. Just don’t fool yourself into thinking that every deck you see out there which appears to be highly sought after is a result of it being a brilliant deck because often that is not the case. Rather, hype is very often manufactured and a lot of money changes hands (I am a newcomer to this sad state of affairs and was shocked to hear a lot of what went on behind the scenes)

In other words your art doesn’t necessarily have to be amazing to sell it, because we’ve seen many mediocre decks being produced that do not have anything special about them, but they are highly sought after and fetch big money and big publicity because of them being powered by hype. Selling a product is only a mystery until you learn the secrets of how sales work. That being said, not everyone knows how to fully utilize these sales strategies. Some may apply to you and some may not.

That being said you also want to put your very best work out there because people deserve your best and if you are an honest person like me, you would not feel fulfilled by putting out mediocre rubbish.

I really feel that I can say we have achieved a lot of attention for our Twisted Tarot Tales through a grass-roots approach. We aren’t paying anyone to write any good reports, or paying for publicity. We’ve worked at it the old-fashioned way and you can too. It doesn’t guarantee success instantly but I like to think our success, even if it takes a little longer, has more of an enduring appeal.

boasting-800x4003, Boast like you’ve never boasted before

This has been a very hard one for me. I was taught not to be boastful as a child, and all through school I was taught the same thing. Don’t be boastful as no one likes a boastful person. This mixed with religious teachings about how wrong it is for man to boast about his own creations, along with a society (at least it would seem in Northern Ireland anyway) that doesn’t like overly boastful people has made me very wary about taking credit for anything that has worked for me, anything that has done well.

Unfortunately sales are all about boasting about an object’s qualities, and in art the objects are either the artist himself/herself or the artworks. To boast of these qualities, you need to find unique differences over the competition (and let’s be serious, your fellow creators are the competition even if they like to pretend they are not). If you’ve ever been backstabbed, shunned or have seen fellow creators attempt to sabotage or undermine your work, please don’t fool yourself into thinking they are anything other than competitors. Some will suggest that there’s “room enough for us all” in such a very niche industry, all the while trying to turn your successful “campaign” into a train wreck. Keep your wits about you, boast of your qualities and never show weakness. If you show weakness, expect to be taken advantage of.

land-defence_foreground4, Defend Your Work To The Death

Your artwork is YOU. It represents you as a person; it represents your achievements, your skills, and your knowledge and so on. If someone takes issue with your work, it is your responsibility to stand up for it. Answer questions respectfully but be aware of when these are not questions but underhanded attacks. It’s your job to make sure the next person who wants to derail you will think twice about it unless there is a really good reason to find issue with you.

More than likely, if you create a kick ass outstanding work of art (or several) and you gain a following, you WILL find opposition, but don’t let them get away with lying about you or trying to ban your work.  People will suggest you take the high road when this happens but the high road is congested by well-meaning people. That and some of these people need challenged simply because they are not expecting to be challenged. Over the past year I’ve become known for creating controversial art yet I feel it’s not that the art itself is necessarily controversial; rather all it takes is one big shot to feel offended by a cartoon and if you are not on it and handling it, it can potentially grow out of control. It’s your job to make sure that these people are called out if they are being hypocrites or are being troublemakers for the sake of causing trouble.

5, Create Your Best Work

Not that it has to be mentioned, but the most important thing in the end is to create great work because let’s face it, if you are like us, you would not want fame or fortune if you yourself felt that you were producing mediocre art. You’d still feel like a fraud. Rather, your own worst critic should be yourself. If your work is good enough for you, in the end that’s all that really matters, though let’s hope you are financially rewarded too 😉


Selling any kind of artwork is hard. Unless you’ve got a Picasso or two at your disposal, you’re probably not going to become a millionaire any time soon. That being said there is no reason one can’t make a living using the gifts of his or her hands. However, there are a few things I suggest you don’t do. I speak as an illustrator in what for many will be a bit of a niche community; the Tarot community. While much of the Tarot community boasts a great selection of writers,readers and speakers, there is also a healthy dose of artistic efforts on offer in the way of creating the imagery for the decks of cards. That being said, I think that my advice might be helpful to those of other art communities.

1, Don’t sell yourself short.

tsA lot of creative types have the self-doubt, the low self-esteem and the mood swings that go with their creativity, and it’s very easy to blurt your feelings out onto Facebook or other social media. This is all very well if it is between family or close friends but you don’t want potential customers hearing how you’re hardly selling any art these days. In other words it’s great to be in touch with your feelings of disappointment and disillusionment but remember that when you voice this, not only does it send out into the universe that you aren’t doing so great (and some beliefs say this thought sent out comes back to hit you like a boomerang), it also sends out a message that your work isn’t in demand. If it isn’t in demand, why would you think it would be in more demand with a sad story of how no one supports you? You don’t want pity purchases because to my knowledge, if pity purchases exist, they are few and far between. Buy a diary and write any of your frustrations there and then keep making great art. We’re pretty much all in the same boat.

I don’t mean to be harsh but believe me I’ve been there and done that. In recent times, although this is a different kind of case, I’ve still slightly fallen into that trap of self-pity, but that was because some jerks over the past year have been trying to do everything from ban me from forums (because I defended my work) to trying to flag and remove my work from Facebook because they hated how quickly we were able to create a huge interest in one of our tarot decks without needing the backing of certain people. (or so I’ve been told)

2, Don’t show your jealousy 

Hungary, Budapest, Jealousy, 1892If someone is getting the spotlight constantly and you are not, Just keep producing the best art you possible can. Your artwork might be more superior to that of the latest tarot trend, but more than likely if you produce good art, your work will stand the test of time. Theirs probably won’t if it pertains to a more pop or throwaway work.

In the world of Tarot It’s difficult not to be upset when you’ve spent years perfecting your illustrative techniques while someone else “borrows” the works of an already established (but dead) artist and is held to high acclaim. That’s life unfortunately, and it’s hard to really understand if the praise is because the consumer is a little ignorant of who initially created the works of art While growing up, or that the creator of the deck did a good job at collating the original works of art. It doesn’t actually matter which it is, what matters is that you maintain your integrity even if you never receive any acclaim.

Here’s a little anecdote. I’ve held an interest in comic book art over the years and I would read how these old timers who’ve been in comics for thirty or forty years have become forgotten about because of a new generation who introduced a different style to western comics (in this case they were introducing a more Asian manga feel to a comic industry that had a more American comic book style look). Naturally the old timers, the veterans, felt a bit overlooked (and may even have become less in demand) because of the young comic artists, but I personally felt that it was a lot of style over substance. The old timers had perfected their art and had a more solid education than a lot of the new stuff that seemed flashy and in your face. The old timers were masters of story telling, but for young kids, the visuals of the more dynamic new stuff were more interesting.

In such a niche industry as that of tarot deck creation, try to suppress any jealousy you have over how successful someone else might be doing with what appears to be something mediocre, because believe it or not half of the success that people talk about actually holds little substance.

3, Don’t share your Ideas before you’ve even put pencil to paper.

secretTHIS IS A BIG ONE. The Tarot creating world is FULL of creators with no vision, no new ideas, and if you really care about your work, care about your “brand”, you’ll want to rein in your desire to announce your big mighty plans until you’ve got it all planned out and are almost ready for launch. It’s sad that things have got this way but if you’re a traditional illustrator like myself and can’t produce 78 cards over a few weekends like some of these up and comers, then keep your trap shut!…no seriously, keep quiet. You’re excited, we get it; you want to tell the world of your amazing idea, but unless you want someone else to show you your idea before you’ve even drawn it yourself, then you need to keep it to yourself. We’ve seen lots of our ideas being used soon after we’ve announced them. Is it coincidence? Possibly, it’s hard to prove either way and hey, you can’t copyright ideas.

4, Don’t be a jerk.

Nobody likes a jerk, no matter what industry you find yourself in. We understand that you might be socially awkward and don’t know how to act around others, but being an jerk for no other reason than being an jerk, just makes you….well, a jerk. AKA don’t try to ban my controversial artwork just because you can’t draw your own illustrations. It’s unsporting.

snob5, Be intellectual but not unreachable.

Intellectual people are only ever cool and fun to talk to if they are also able to downplay their knowledge for people who perhaps don’t know everything the intellectual is saying. It’s great that you have perfect grammar, congratulations.(that’s actually to be commended nowadays in our newspeak text age) However no normal person really appreciates words that 99 percent of the population never use in daily life UNLESS these words have no other ways of being conveyed. It creates a disconnect.

Another thing. In the divinatory world, i can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that someone was a Greek Goddess in a past life, now reduced to being a “domestic goddess” or some ancient mystic from the top of Mount Kilimanjaro three life times ago. Another may claim they own Pamela Coleman Smith’s handkerchief or Crowley’s shoe. hell, it may even be true, who knows, but all but the most docile see this as “props”…stage props that is. Simply bearing the fingernail of Waite or the scrumpled unused sketch from Lady Harris doesn’t make you any more of an expert on tarot than the average Joe. Why would it? Nor will the suggestion that you’ve met with Christ, Buddha and Krishna in person, and they’ve departed some secret wisdom to you that justify the price hike in your readings. You may as well be a black belt in origami as far as I’m concerned. Some of the plainest non boastful people out there have the most amazing tarot reading skills I’ve ever seen. I’m getting to be an old man, I’m not impressed by the stage show, but with the skills… Yet there are enough people who love the stage show stuff, the fanciful, the spectacular and they choose to have their magicians dress the part. I get that. I am not suggesting you don’t dress the part and have fun, but spare people the pretentiousness. Don’t patronize them.

Click here for 5 things you SHOULD do to sell your Tarot Art online.