I’m shooting from the hip on this one. I’m angry, frustrated, pi**ed off.
I have just had another rejection, that makes 11 on the bounce without being shortlisted or interviewed. I know it’s a numbers game and something just has to turn up soon. Also the funding situation is such that more and more people are going for the same smaller pots of funding, commission and residencies. That’s austerity. That’s living in a country where we don’t fundamentally value the arts, or the artists. This isn’t about this or the fact that most arts funding goes on buildings and administrators and artists get the crumbs.
In my latest rejection it was because i was deemed to be ‘established’.
Where else do we have this notion of established and emerging? Who decides what you are and where you sit. What does it even mean?
In my mind I am caught somewhere in the hinterland, always in the hinterland.
I am an artist without another job. In some ways i am fortunate. But I am hardly one of the power 100. I am not one of the 1% of sustainable established artists – i am firmly part of the 99% which props them up.
The fact that i read the criteria and thought i fitted that criteria and then spent a whole unpaid day putting a proposal in for it to be rejected because I am too ‘established’. Another unpaid day – as so many artists spend to put in proposals and expressions of interest.
I haven’t had a major solo exhibition. I have shown in a couple of group shows this year with 2 works in one and 1 in another. I am not represented by a gallery. I don’t have a major national or international presence. I haven’t had national coverage for my work. I don’t have a ‘profile’ in the arts world let alone a foot in the door of mainstream institutional art world. Last year I earned less than £8,000 – like many artists – and depend on working tax credits, like many artists do.
So does this sound like being an established artist?
The spurious nebulous terms and classifications that don’t seem to exist in other professions need unpacking, clarifying or simply left behind.
Surely this is another issue that needs unpacking within a curated conversation.