‘Painting is a philosophical enterprise that doesn’t always involve paint.’ Howard Halle
Kate Murdoch’s post on her 1st blogiversary, as Marion Michell called it, is lovely and affirming. It is simply wonderful to be acknowledged and it’s profoundly humbling to see people’s positive reaction to what you do and say. Thank you, Kate.
I was just talking with my husband, David, the other night about acknowledgement and the importance it has to an artist. We were discussing the selling of one’s art and I was explaining that for many artists it was an acknowledgement of what they were doing. It was a discussion of selling to the market and big name collectors, something which David abhors the thought of. He has often asked me if I would feel satisfied to have people appreciate my work for what it is. Of course the answer to that is YES!, but it’s a complex topic which carries a minefield of emotions for me, nonetheless. However, I have to admit, more and more, I look to what I can achieve beyond the limits of making sales.
I have my own one year anniversary to celebrate. It was one year ago this month the first artist invitations went out for This ‘Me’ of Mine. I remember the fear and trepidation of feeling certain no one would accept and the great joy I felt when every single invitation was accepted. I realize now I’ve gone through many tougher fears and disappointments in this past year with This ‘Me’ of Mine and I still have many to face. However, it has been the consistent support and encouragement from all the artists in This ‘Me’ of Mine which has sustained me through each phase of the project. So to follow Kate’s lead and in celebration of Thanksgiving Day in the USA, my sincere thanks to Aly Helyer, Edd Pearman, Darren Nixon, Hayley Harrison, Melanie Titmuss, Annabel Dover, Kate Murdoch, David Minton, Anthony Boswell, David Riley, Sandra Crisp, Sarah Hervey, Shireen Qureshi, Cathy Lomax, and Julie Cochburn who had to leave the project due to an extreme schedule of shows.
The venue partners who have chosen the project for their 2013 schedules have also given me great support and encouragement. My heartfelt thanks to A.P.T. Gallery, Strange Cargo/Georges House Gallery, Sevenoaks Kaleidoscope Gallery who has just accepted the project, and Colchester/Ipswich Museum. There was a point when I felt despair at the string of rejections I was receiving from venues and I thought the project would fail. I never dreamed I would have four venues, not to mention four venues of this calibre!
I also have a special thank you to say to Dr David Jones and Dr Aiden Gregg who will be symposium panellists along with Annabel Dover. To Dr Claire Hart and Dr Sylwia Cisek, who were unable to participate but who supported the project and gave generously of their time when help was needed most, and to Pierrick Senelaer editor of Art Pie who is a project media sponsor and has invited me to contribute articles directly related to This ‘Me’of Mine on Art Pie. A very warm thank you to Corrina Spencer, Helen Scalway, Gillian Powell and Alex Pearl who are on the outside of This ‘Me’ of Mine but who have given their help and advice with amazing generosity. AND THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO IS FOLLOWING THE PROJECT!
Finally, the most important thank you goes to my husband, David, who has supported me at every turn and has dried every tear of fear and anxiety.
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!
If you’d like to learn more about writing proposals, read my latest Rebecca Projects blog post: ‘A Good Proposal’
Read my interview with Shireen Qureshi: Straight from the Nerves
(thought I’d do straight forward in-your-face-advertising and cut to the chase)
P.S. I hope you like the interview.
I’ve been procrastinating with this blog. I’ve felt a bit unsure of how to proceed because it seemed like I was doing a lot of ‘advertising’, to borrow David Riley’s word. The reality is curating This ‘Me’ of Mine has become my full time occupation and I have had scant time for producing work, though I do have some new ideas I’ve been working on. That is not a complaint, just a reality; I love the things that I’m engaged with in This ‘Me’ of Mine. But because of this I’ve felt my posts were becoming a bit lopsided. Then I stood back from myself and looked at the things that have happened recently and I felt I could finally write a post.
I failed to get into the Marmite Prize. I was really disappointed by that because I was very hopeful, but lesson learned: don’t get hopeful when dealing with open competitions, it’s a crap shoot and there is no way around it. If you’re lucky, you’re lucky; if you’re not, you’re not.
I was accepted to Axis. This is more rewarding than being selected to any open competition. The Axis application is demanding and it requires careful thought and good writing to convey what is happening with your practice. It’s not enough to send in a statement and a bio, you pretty well have to defend what you’re doing. Lesson learned: know what you’re on about and say it plainly. Rigour shows itself in clarity of speech.
I failed to get press coverage for ‘What’s time got to do with it?’ even though I had set up two reviews. They simply didn’t happen in the end because of unlucky timing. Lesson learned: it’s better to make a connection with writers who are interested in what you do than to make no effort to get press coverage.
I have been invited to become a contributor to Art Pie by one of those writer connections above, based on the writing I have been doing for This ‘Me’ of Mine. Totally unrelated to ‘What’s time got to do with it?’ Pierrick saw the This ‘Me’ of Mine blogsite, liked the content and made the invitation. What’s more he’s asked me to write about This ‘Me’ of Mine for Art Pie which gives me a wonderful opportunity to stand outside of the interviews and other blogsite content and comment from different angles and perspectives, not to mention giving me an opportunity to engage with a larger audience. It is challenging and very rewarding. Lesson learned: Always do your best, put yourself out there, make connections, you never know when things will swing back around to you. By the way the other writer I connected with for ‘What’s time got to do with it?’ is following the This ‘Me’ of Mine blog.
Scroll down for Part 2…
I failed to win a large grant for This ‘Me’ of Mine. Lesson learned: Don’t be daunted by a seriously complex and rigorous application. The process is as valuable as the outcome – yes it is.
I was given a detailed evaluation and feedback on my grant application, something I hadn’t expected. My application was ‘seriously considered, well researched, timely in its subject, well written and all around excellent’, according to one assessor about the excellent part, both assessors agreed on the other points and one assessor said they learned something from the information contained in my proposal – you don’t hear that every day. Why didn’t it win? Because it failed in its attempt to meet a certain criteria. In other words, I was trying to make the project fit into something it isn’t. I learned a lot in the process and it has prepared me for other applications which are better suited to the project. I was disappointed, at one point I wailed inside, but the confirmation via the feedback, of work well done was invaluable to me.
I was starting to feel isolated again and cut off even though I am in contact with people from This ‘Me’ of Mine and other friends and colleagues almost daily. It is a difficult thing to be here working in what can nearly be called a vacuum because I often don’t know how the community at large is responding to the work I’m doing. Not being in London, I don’t get to hear the word that’s passing in the street, so to speak, and it’s difficult to gauge sometimes if anyone is noticing. Lesson learned: you’re tired! Take a break. Just keep working, people are watching whether you know it or not, something I learned when I first started writing blogs here on a-n.
Today (I wrote this on Friday 17th Aug) I was mentioned in a #FF tweet by @an_artnews, and in mighty company, I might add, that small gesture made me feel like the larger community was aware and watching what I’m doing; what a pleasure, what reassurance and what encouragement.
My sincere thanks to @an_artnews, Pierrick Senelaer at Art Pie, the curators at Axis, my grant assessors, everyone involved in This ‘Me’ of Mine, all the project followers and silent watchers, and most importantly thanks to my husband, David who supports me in every way.
I hope you are enjoying the results so far.