Saturday, July 16, 2011

Straws and Camels

Much more than funding for projects, grants are tools of legitimacy. That is, your practice is 'good' enough to warrant support, your thinking clear and those in the machine formally state as much. We are often told that grants are springboards to bigger things. They should expose you to new 'stuff', make new opportunities available and give you a degree of freedom you mightn't otherwise have.

That said, they - both the application process and any success - also involve huge commitments on multiple levels. The application process can be very detailed, requiring a lot of research, favour-calling and emotional investment.

Recently we got knocked back for a grant the 9th time from 9 attempts in recent years. Add to this the obscene number of exhibition proposals that have been rejected (or ignored in one case), the black hole that we've experienced when approaching galleries here and 'you have not been selected' letters then it does start to get very draining.

Emotionally it's getting too hard. We work up ideas for projects we otherwise couldn't do, fall in love with them then look at them - slowly a collection of 'them' - cowering in the corner every other week.

I have no idea what the solution is but I do know my limits. It is perhaps better that I surrender that delusion and just make work for the cupboard.

"Multiple-award entering artist with extensive grant/exhibition proposal history announces his retirement from..."? From what?

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