Tuesday, 29 September 2009
My Van Gogh Moment.
Photograph by Salva
Lately I've been pushing myself forward a little. I applied for two grants. One was quiet affair offered by the region of Castilla y León (of which Valladolid is the capital). I was one of 5 applicants and I left this painting, an artist CV, portfolio, artist statement and proposal for the next year.
The other was a bigger deal. I found out about it the night before. I spent the evening with Salva finishing a painting and re-writing the artist's statement. This foundation's art grants are huge and many, but I'd never even heard of it so I went out there feeling great. Anyway. I walked into this super modern place, past an awesome mixed-media exhibition, accompanied by security guards to the first floor where I walked past a room full of applicant artworks, some of which were facing me and were enormous (I know size shouldn't matter but I got a pretty bad case of wall-space envy). My piece is 75cmx100cm. Modest.
When I walked in there I gripped on to my painting a little tighter. The secretary had to pry it out of hands to prop it up against the wall and give it a number. "Ay que bonito!" She exclaimed. "Are you taking the piss?"* I thought.
Anyway. I filled out the forms and left it there, but before turning away I noticed another mother (eer artist) with a similar doubt-filled expression. Then I looked at the photograph she was handing over, and it was really. really. good. She will probably win.
What was weirdest about my encounter with her was that she was about my height, weight and colouring with hair that was all electric and pinned everywhere and it was like looking at myself from behind. Then, to make things stranger, I went downstairs to find who I thought was Salva looking at the exhibition and almost put my hand in the back pocket of another tall, broad shouldered, olive-skinned man with a black T-shirt and a shaved head. I kid you not. We were multiplying.
So during the drive home and the thoughts about leaving my poor painting with all those big mean paintings that are probably picking on it right now, I also thought about that other girl,her sideways glances and her really really good photograph and then I reflected:
If I were to wait until I thought my art was really good and original before asking for a grant, I may be waiting a very long time, or end up cutting my ear off, or something. So I'm not waiting anymore.
*This is an Australianism, I think.