Everyone can find a niche and a patron that allows their unique talent to shine.
Poetry was never my speciality, I am told I produce killer metaphors, but when I attempt poetry I flee a bloody crime scene. Wordsmith I may be, but poet I am not.
I follow a few poets on WordPress, amongst them is my favourite called Lorna Smithers. Lorna is a Celtic Bard, her work wins prizes, though alas riches earned in her pursuit won’t pay the bills of modern life. I fail to do justice to appreciating this Bard’s work for poetry requires quiet reflection and my life is a chaotic tangle of demands denying me such pleasures. My appreciation of the work of Lorna is deepened because I share her worldview thus I can understand on a deeper level the images she conveys in her work.
In my recent blog about the The Storyteller Lorna made the observation in comments how success comes only to a lucky few. Lorna is correct that a few people strike it rich, just as the author of Harry Potter did. In Colchester I belong to a creative hub swarming with illustrators, website designers and photographers all chasing a finite pool of potential customers. I disagree with Lorna that success is merely luck, in truth success comes in the same way as a spider places its web, good location means more lucky catches of juicy flies. If the location is bad, the spider moves to a better location.
Lorna belongs to a rich ancient tradition of Celtic Bards. One of the most illustrious of her Celtic ancestors was the Bard Taliesin, a historical figure richly rewarded with a place in Celtic mythology, greatest of Bards. Taliesin lived in the 6th century CE in the North of Britain. I am unable to say what the niche was that set Taliesin apart from the thousands of Bards who were his contemporaries, he is recognised then and now as one of the greatest of Celtic Bards. Not only did Taliesin find his niche he found a powerful patron in one of the greatest Celtic leaders of the age Urien.
Finding your niche sets you apart from all others. Finding your patron gives you the security and influence of patronage to shape your success. Niche and patron is a good location to a spider, you catch more lucky flies. Niche and patron establishes a name, a secure fortress of influence, prestige and market dominance. All creative people need the niche and patron, since markets, especially today are saturated with competition. Brand and uniqueness marks out the successful from the ordinary, Harry Potter from Unknown Potter.
I share an outlook in common with the artist Leonardo da Vinci, an influence I admire. da Vinci was unconventional introducing new styles against the traditions of his day. Sometimes it is hard to pin down in an artist clear boundaries of what their niche is, but it is clearly visible, though intangible. Many roads lead to Rome, but the individual road travelled is the niche that separates the traveller from others to Rome. da Vinci observed nature and people, he then conveyed the essence of what he saw into his art, something his peers did not do. da Vinci benefited by association with some of the greatest patrons of his time, association for instance with the powerful Medici family of Florence, so famous even my spell checker recognises the name!