Dice and Luck in My Art
Dice and luck, why this obsession? I started to ruminate about good luck vs. merit. Maybe I believe I’m not worthy of glory and abundance, so I hope I’ll be lucky instead. Maybe I want something for nothing like all degenerate gamblers. And yet I adhere to the idea of serendipity, a combination of preparedness mixed with chance. Meditating on dice is a good reminder for me to work on merit and hope for luck, knowing that there’s not much I can control. I do the work knowing that it doesn’t guarantee anything, so I better enjoy the work. For a long time, I have been collecting dice. It dates back to me at age 16 and a relationship with someone who was very influential in my life. He was also obsessed with symbols of luck; cards, dice, rabbit’s feet, black cats, the number 13 etc. My collecting started thinking of him, but then I realised these were things that I wanted and were important to me too.
For instance, dice are so easy to accumulate. They are small, they are cheap and each purchase brings with it a dose of joy and excitement. It’s amazing how many things I’ve found that are dice related. I especially like the old plastics, Bakelite, Lucite…to me the coloured plastic looks just like candy (another favorite symbol and treat). The idea of the dots too, a few polka dots that on the six sides of a die, add up to 21, three times seven. Three the triangle, the trilogy and seven the lucky number in the game. (I tend to get a little excited and enthusiastic about the numerology in dice, more on that later.)
It feels funny this belief in luck, that I make my own luck. Am I really that superstitious? Does thinking I’m lucky make it so? Can I provoke luck? Yes! I think so. For example: by talking about what I desire constantly, never knowing who I’ll meet and who can help. But voicing my desires and projects might help make them so. Maybe Lady Luck can help. Because apparently, luck is a woman, fickle and unpredictable, but if I treat her right, she’ll shine on me. That’s why ladies are always asked to blow on the dice.
Additionally, in feng shui you have three areas of luck: that which you are born with, that which you work for and that which your environment provides.
Here are some of my works of art where I have added some dice to the visuals:
Superstitions, Obsessive Ticks and Rituals
Once, I made dice from Fimo clay and left them all around the École de Beaux Arts in Paris, hoping it would help my chances to get accepted into the school or get to work there.
Obsessively, I look for clues to why I’m attracted to these dice. Studying the object. I see that it is square, and has 4 corners which could evoke the 4 directions. Moreover, dice could be seen as building blocks. Because a die is a cube.
Numberological Point of View
Accordingly, the dice is straight and has six different sides to see but always one side that remains hidden, a mystery. I take this to mean that I should never use all or nothing thinking but should try to see at least 6 sides to any issue, knowing that one will remain a unfathomable to me.
The number four: the number four could be a door. A door to another dimension, an opportunity, a surprise on the other side.
More numbers: The number 6. A Die has 6 sides, in numberology, 6 is the embodiment of the heart, unconditional love, ability to support, nurture, and heal. Likewise, compassion and empathy are the areas of expertise of the heart. Moreover, I also found out that the 6 evokes a warm light, a beacon of hope, domestic happiness, or the lovers, or sisters, (my favorite Siamese twins!) Gemini. Also, the heart is ruled by Venus-Virgo.
The Tarot- Fours
Furthermore, speaking about the number four, I once illustrated the 4 of wands from the tarot. It is the card of celebration. « The Four Wands symbolises laying foundations, marking your territory, claiming your space, and building upon it. There is a sense of permanence, of coming home, in the positioning of the Four Wands which stand like fortress walls. It takes great team effort, ambition and commitment to yield such magnificent results. The season for festivals, parties and celebration has definitely arrived. This card brings freedom and liberation on all levels of being. For the time being the figures in the imagery are free to set aside the daily grind and just be. » text found here.
Sayings About Luck
Let’s consider some turns of phrases about Dice and Luck:
«Don’t push your luck», «Take a risk and Roll the Dice», «Roll them Bones»
Pair ‘o’ dice or paradise? I love this homonyme! Indeed, I just happen to be a part of an artist collective called Paradice Palase (yes that is spelled right!). Check it out here.
«The way of Devotion (Bhakti marga) must begin with things known and loved by the devotee, not remove unimaginable conceptions. Since the Godhead is immanent in all, They will make themselves known through any object profoundly regarded. Furthermore, it is the Godhead within the devotee that makes it possible for her to discover the Godhead in the world without».
An ancient Chinese text from the Lijing: «rites obviate disorder, as dykes obviate floods». Today, most rituals have disappeared from our lives or we have become unconscious to them. I’m interested in creating my own rituals, but also researching ritual in other cultures. I wonder if the need for ritual is pathologic?
Hazard Destiny Chance
When people say «She’s so lucky!» And I say «sure I had good luck» yet:
- I showed up
- I worked really hard
- I sacrificed having fun to stay focused
- I discipline my thinking and my emotions
- I put thought and effort into everything I do
- I have a fertile imagination
- I have cultivated a magnetic personality I attract other successful people
- I learn and profit by my failures
- I am open-minded
- I am generous, I am giving
- I complete everything I start
Likewise, the Art Queens posted on their Instagram: She’s so lucky-(AKA hard work, determination, losing people, late nights and weekends, challenging her limits, ignoring her doubters, investing in her self, never giving up.)
Of course I’m obsessed with dice, it all makes sense. Power and stability two things I struggle with and desire.
Besides all that, you could roll some dice for a Hybrid tattoo. There’s a company called Tattoo Paint Roll. You can buy different sets of dice with little images of roses, spiderwebs, or words like Lady Head, Butterfly, Lucky Cat. You are supposed to roll the dice then do a drawing including three or more of the elements.
There are other dice prompt games for writers, called Story Dice or Dice Story. One is dice that you buy with symbols like a ghost, pizza, a newspaper, an office chair, plus hundreds of others. The other game to play is a grid offering 6 possibilities for time, place, a character 1, a character 2 and the conflict. You roll the dice then use those constraints to create something. Here’s some Halloween roll a story grid that I found online:
The Number 13
In conclusion, I even have Cupid dice tattooed on my upper back. One day, I noticed that the numbers of dots showing add up to 13. Whereas, black cats, umbrellas open inside, a horseshoe hung open end down, a skull, a ladder, a broken mirror, or Friday the 13th are usually symbols of bad luck, there are some people like me, who reclaim these symbols as possible good luck charms. After all, I was married in the 13th arrondissement on the 26th (2 times 13). I also live in the 13th arrondissement of Paris and I became a French citizen in 2013!
Furthermore, inspired by another artist who is always making analogies, mostly with her work and food, I wanted to make an analogy about me and dice. How I am like dice? I am straight and sturdy, colourful, multi sided, unpredictable, smooth with rounded edges, hard (strong), sometimes transparent, and sometimes opaque, always basculating between luck or merit. Indeed, maybe I’ll make a list of all my accomplishments and check whether it was hard work or chance that made it so.
Clearly, some luck, you are born with. Some luck comes from your environment. And some luck you make yourself.
I make my own luck.