I understand that what one never had one can’t lose … but it feels as though I have lost something … namely an artist’s working grant of about £10,000.  I dared to dream that this might be my year to get one of the awards – several thousand are given out every year – but once again I am left feeling crushed and more than a little defeated.


Only two artists in the Uppsala region received grants – one of whom I know and there is no question that she deserves it, the other artist’s name isn’t one that I recognise but I shall certainly do a search and see what they are doing.  Uppsala is Sweden’s fourth largest city with a good if not exactly vibrant art-scene … what are we – yes we – doing wrong?  Are we victims of being in close proximity to Stockholm … the thinking being that if we were serious about being artists we’d obviously move there, it is only 40 minutes away after all.  Are we guility of not being sufficiently engaged in contemporary practice and debate – there’s not art school here and the level of critical discussion is embarrassingly low.  Are we simply out of context … neither sufficiently urban nor rurally remote enough to be interesting?


It would be interesting to see all the Uppsala artists who applied (fulfilled that criteria in case) and were rejected … what do we do? … is it really so uninteresting?  Even discounting the recent recipients in Uppsala – five last year, two the year before – there are a good few artists consistently producing good work and actively contributing to the art scene both here and further a field.


This rejection comes after a few successes which makes it seem somehow harsher.  If it was just another in a long line of rejections it would be more expected.  I dared to think that with the big project in Västmanland last year, the Spring Exhibition, and the Uppsala project funding, that my fortunes were changing.  I guess that this is a reminder that I can’t take things for granted!


It makes me especially glad that I have my new (can I still call it ’new’?) job.  If I didn’t have that I would be looking at an empty savings account and no choice but a return to Enköping – a position that I realise now was not very good for me at all.  


I am almost literally counting the days until the Artists’ Clubs’ annual general meeting – at which I step down as chair, meaning that I regain a great deal of both time and energy … mostly energy if I am honest, though the time I have given to the club is not inconsiderable.  It is going to be such a relief to hand it over to someone who is not only far more capable but has the distinct advantage of being a native Swedish speaker … in fact a fair portion of their capability in this capacity has do do with language.  I have found it incredibly tiring, frustrating, and demanding trying to understand and chair complex discussions involving eleven opinionated artists in my second langauge.  I know that all of the committee like and respect me but their frustration is also evident … especially towards the end of what regularly turn into three hour meetings – partly due my inability to quickly grasp the subject and reflect our options back to the group.


Not wishing to disregard the coming (and much anticipated) summer it won’t be long until it’s time to submit an application for next year’s round of artists’ grants, I wonder if no longer being on the Artists’ Club committee will put me in a better position to make a successful application.  Only time will tell …



1 Comment

Something has shifted. I can’t say exactly what … or why … but something definitely feels different. Perhaps it is to do with my immanent stepping down as chair of the artists’ club, or perhaps it is to do with the immanent arrival of spring … perhaps it doesn’t really matter if I can identify the what and why or not.

On Thursday I sent a few emails to some galleries and konsthalls (council funding public galleries) introducing myself and expressing my interest in exhibiting, collaborating on projects, and contributing to their programmes. I kept it brief, included an image of my work in the Spring Exhibition together with a link to my website, and an open invitation to visit the studio. I can’t imagine that any of the galleries or konsthalls have already heard of me so no matter the outcome I have lost nothing and potentially might have won something – some kind of recognition.

It felt good to do something positive … something that polite artists ’shouldn’t do’ …perhaps that’s it – the thing that has shifted … I’ve reached the limit of being polite … or at least polite in situations that do not warrant it. ’Polite’ is perhaps not exactly right … more like deference … I have reached the limit of deference … inappropriate deference. I am tired of feeling inferior, unimportant, ignored, unworthy, and unequal.



I started writing this post on Saturday morning … it is now Wednesday morning and I am at the studio readying myself for another day at the computer writing the 2023 annual report for the artists’ club. I would much rather be working on the new chapter of Following Eugène … especially having seen Conny Karlson Lundberg’s beautiful show ’I Kiss Your Eyes’ (Jag kysser dina ögon). His work combines historical, contemporary, personal, and cultural narratives in works that are both poetic and political. His parred down aesthetic invites engagement that unfolds and rewards as it teases out lives lead across different times and countries.

What kind of artist do I want to be? That familiar, and as yet unanswered, question rears up again. Seeing Karlsson Lundberg’s show reminded me that there are ways of be being an artist that defy easy classification, that perhaps create their identity as they the work evolves …

… so I guess that I had better get on and make work