Just over two years ago I had the opportunity to return from the ‘wilderness’ of an ordinary life and enter the ‘wasteland’ of the ‘Full-time’ artist.  To make art again was as liberating as it was  difficult. The minefield of getting my practice back to a decent level was not so much an explosive experience, as a one of slash and burn. However, through the mentorship of a very close friend this journey is almost there and work begins to have substance and meaning.

So this week I await for yet more rejections from residencies and galleries, the e-mail silence is almost deafening to my failing hearing.  I’m beginning to become paranoid and think it is an age thing. (that’s a mid fifties crisis opportunity  by the way)  However the large exhibition gap in my CV from 1996 to 2013 might have a tad to do with it!  I have given up on Newcastle (a closed shop) and look deep into the distance of the other provinces. Wish me luck.  Song for the week: ‘Art’ by The Meters… go strut your stuff!!!!!!

 


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Project Name: I am somebody

Project Number: DYCP-00217828

Thank you for making an application to Developing Your Creative Practice.

Due to the unfolding situation with Coronavirus-Covid 19 we’re sorry to have to tell you that we are not able to progress your current application any further. We’ve made the difficult decision to suspend the National Lottery Project Grants, Developing Your Creative Practice and Grassroots Music funding programmes. We believe this is the right thing to do to protect practitioners, participants and audiences, and it will allow us to focus on providing emergency financial support for the creative sector. The investment we would have made to these funds has been redirected to form part of our emergency funding package in response to Covid-19. Details of the new support funds can be found on our website and we will update the website when we are ready to re-open National Lottery Project Grants, Grassroots Music and Developing Your Creative Practice in the future months. We realise this will be a disappointment and hope you will understand why we have made this decision. Thank you for your application, take care of yourselves and your communities

Yours sincerely

Edward De Souza
Director Investment Operations and Resources
On behalf of Arts Council England

 

I received this e-mail just over a week ago.  Been mulling it over.  My response to this is: administrators do not create (visual) art, we as creatives are responsible for that. Cutting this funding attacks the very foundation of creativity, without creativity, without artists, administrators only administer themselves and their cronies; this decision reflects that. I am lucky to live with someone who works full time and is able to support me in my practice, without this I would not have the money or the time to do so.  Further, I would suggest that if  the Arts Council had applied for this money  through lottery funding for a specific purpose, it would have to be administered for that and not be diverted for other purposes. I am not a lawyer, but I believe this is a valid point.

For all those individuals in the Arts Council and every museum, gallery and arts charity in the land who are paid via PAYE, their organisations will be able to apply for Furlough as part of the Government’s job retention scheme. This is not available to individual artists.

I believe artistic creativity is and always has been the poor cousin in our present society, yet it is one of the fundamental driving forces of any civilisation (in the broadest sense of the word); it was always so, way before literature, money, capitalism and the corruption of ideas through arts administration and money.

In contrast, New Writing North, have not scrapped their writing awards for this coming year. This is such a positive response to the present crisis compared to the Arts Council’s.

I realise that this response may be seen as ‘sour grapes’, but I believe this is about more than money, it is about how those administrators in the Arts Council view individual visual artists; its as is we are…invisible.

To all the artists out there…KEEP CREATING and KEEP SAFE.

Best wishes

Mark Carr

 


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Seven years on since I started back as an artist and it is still incredibly difficult to get my work recognised or shown without a great deal of effort. Most of the exhibitions and performances I have staged over the last seven years have left me ‘out of pocket’, which I assume is not unusual for many artists out there who produce challenging work and have no partnerships with galleries or institutions. Oh, and I have tried to build those links. Anyway, I have spent nine months out of the last year making a important work concerning issues around mental ill health. It is and hour long video/cinematic/performance piece with a 15 min prelude. I am currently looking for a venue to present this work. If anyone out there has any suggestions, please contact me thought AN. Enjoy the visuals….. Link below to short promo…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PdGpRnTqArg


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As a pacifist I find this time of year very difficult.  There is much talk and art made around remembrance, but little for all the countless millions of civilians who have died as a result of just being in the wrong place at the wrong time during wars and conflicts.

I would like to remember them and their sacrifice.

This will be my last blog for a while.

Peace be with you.


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Aller bonfire 2016.  Top build. Great spirit. Community working together. 42 foot high St Pauls with tower, London Bridge, River Thames and buildings. 4 Days hard graft. Funding £0. Absolute best burn yet. Super hot.  Great days.  For me, better spectacle and the true spirit of a bonfire burn compared to the ‘London Wicker Wonder’, but hey, I’m bias. Check out both on line and make your own mind up.


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