Friday, September 26, 2008

What if a grant is granted this week?

I applied for my first grant months ago and will find out if it passed initial screening within days. I could do so much with this grant. Twenty years of work stored in a small room could come to life in my proposal for a protptype for exhibitions that reveals the symmetry of my journey.

It would make such a wonderful and enlightening exhibition. It would also show viewers the rocky road to achieving a voice, the ups and downs. Bills continue to mount and I and my supportive wife continue trying to stay afloat. Yesterday, I sent out a package to a museum considering acquisition. Today, I send out an introductory letter and pics to Gallery in upstate NY. Someone will see that something in my work that will inspire others - that is the motivating force that makes all these mailings purposeful.

I've gotten the eyes of important members of the art world. Now I have to get their ears. I need a solo show and I need assistance in bringing it to the people, damnit!


Last year, my donation to the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey's Annual Blank Canvass Benefit, was a painting depicting an alter ego of myself having lunch with the juror for the 2008 International Show. This was the "Best in Show" award - to sit down for lunch at the Whitney and have the ears and eyes of the juror, which in this case was the Whitney's curator of drawings. Did I resort to some ancient voodoo tactic to try my luck? No, I merely used art to express my hope for a certain outcome before it was decided to not happen - I wasn't even juried into the show. But in 2007, I won a Merit Award, one of the top 6 awards selected from about 1800 entries. So, my hopes are high and probably not too far-fetched. But, who's to say when hope is misplaced. I can think of many other things more misplaced.

This year I am submitting for the auction, a logo for the "Lunch with a Curator" Best in Show award in the upcoming 23rd International Show at Summit. It will consist of a plate, a fork, a 1" brush, an approaching ship made of clay, stick on letters, and a re-structuring of the VACNJ logo. I'll spray it chrome and call it "Lunch with Curator II."


In response to my rejection in the International Show 2008 (Summit,NJ), a show I really wanted to be in - the juror was from the Whitney and from the department of Drawings, I drew "Hey Whitney." The Best in Show award for the Int'l show was a meeting with the juror at the Whitney, and a Cash Award of $1,000. I entered that drawing in the Madison National Show in Madsion, GA, and it won a $1,000 Best in Show Merit Award, one of three awarded. The juror was Sylvie Fortin, Editor of ART PAPERS. Lesson: Take that artist's angst and channel it.

But the story doesn't end there. I sent a copy of this drawing to the Whitney to see if they wanted to purchase it. It's been months and still no response, which means there is no interest, because if there was they would certainly contact the artist. I sometimes find if a story is too good, too appropriate, or too relevant, it isn't wanted. Perhaps those that make the decisions prefer something they don't understand, which would make a big ego feel that it is important because it is after all, unexplainable by their cerebral cortex, and if it was easy to understand then it would be an insult to the inquiring mind if it wasn't easily grasped in the first place. Perhaps sometimes an artist should not try to explain the art, thereby making it mysterious, and exciting. But then doesn't art history try its dam nest to make our expressions understandable. Isn't that the point of lectures, books, and exhibitions, to a degree?

At any rate, there are a lot of reasons that determine an acquisition, and some may have nothing to do with the sheer freshness or spiritual value of the work. Look at dealers who may sometimes only look at the existing monetary "value" of a work as the informing factor in their acquiring of it. So, back to this fresh vision where an artist is gaining curatorial favor via juried art winnings, yet not one work has sold, and an artist has to struggle, searching car seats for coins, just to afford the most basic of materials, paper. Do collectors not have vision????

Drawing Prize

Last year in May I flew to Cambridge to receive the Outstanding Drawing Prize in the 10Th Anniversary of the Cambridge Art Association's National Prize Show. I was returning from a furniture delivery when I got the personable call from Kathryn Schultz. She was so welcoming saying, "New England opens her arms to you." My drawing with its Hard Knocks development had finally gained indisputable academic credentials - the Director of Harvard Art Museums, Thomas W. Lentz, had selected me for this prestigious award. How could I beat this I thought.

Well, this past May I was selected by Sylvie Fortin, Editor of ART PAPERS, for one of the three top awards in the Madison National Exhibition at the historic Madison Cultural Center. Three of us received this $1,000 Best in Show award. I was tipped off to my winning when I received the exhibition announcement bearing three images on the cover, one being a close-up of my accepted entry.

Just weeks ago, I won the Chung & Press Award for Drawing in the Will's Creek Survey Exhibition in Cumberland, MD., for my drawing, "Geisha" (pictured). The juror was from the Corcoran. Suddenly, my drawing is on something like a winning streak. However, not one original has sold at these shows where my work was honored by important members of the art world's curatorial staff. I'm a bit perturbed by this, despite the winnings. Curators are supposed to follow the artists, and collectors should do the same, supporting the artist that is struggling to gain a fresh mastery of his medium. What does it say about the visionary qualities of a collector if they wait until other collectors make the first moves. Where is that strength of belief in an artist. I'm doing my part and forging my own voice, breathing new life into this thing called art.

The awards are great, but why haven't they brought about a purchase? I still struggle to get money to pay for my paper and pens. Not to mention, framing costs and shipping & handling to shows. How nice it would have been to attend these past two art openings to hear the attending juror give a talk on the art. A talk that may never make it to a publication. These little things bring joy to an artist seeking to gain academic insight into his or her own contribution to the arts.

What's next now? By the end of September, I will find out if I was considered for a Ella Lyman Cabot Trust Grant. This is the first time I've asked for support. I feel I have a good chance; I've crafted my words pretty well and stated my case succinctly and it fits the trust's requirements in giving. I feel as though I've won enough through the past three years and need to now have a solo show and that is what I've requested assistance with. I need to develop a prototype for an exhibition of my 20 year plus journey in art. There is an important symmetry that has emerged. Without an audience the work is incomplete.
Posted by Drawingmyshipin at 9:00 PM 0 comments Links to this post
Labels: art, art shows, artist, awards, drawing, grants
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