I know that on internet groups people often don’t like you posting about the nuts and bolts side of arts practice, except where it concerns technique- and that everything is about sharing and the good things and not about bad things and disappointments. But I am writing a blog, technically a journal of sorts and if this is truly my journal than I want to write about the good and the bad- as I would in paper journal that I also keep.
Yesterday engendered a very real crisis of self belief. I went to bed early after having sat through three lots of piano practice and the angst of upcoming piano exams on Friday, cooked dinner and just couldn’t cope with any more. This may sound self centered but bear with me a moment. Actually the crisis is still ongoing and because I went to bed so early I woke really early. The log trucks started rolling at about which woke the roosters in the whole neighbourhood, which then woke the birds- you get my drift. So I got up and discovered that those log trucks are using our dirt road- no wonder it is getting rutted and no wonder the noise of the passing trucks is waking everyone-but as it was dark I could not see whose truck it was, they are not supposed use this road Now there is nothing like a bit of outrage….
So self belief- is what I have been thinking about – mine got rather shaken yesterday, more so than I had anticipated because in a way I would have been very surprised to have gotten the residency- it was more the fact that I got very close that shook my confidence. So why did it get so shaken? Well I have been pondering this since and first there are a number of facts;
1. Australian women artists are amongst the lowest paid women in western democracies
2. Australian women artists are the lowest paid women in
3. Australian women artists earn half of what Australian male artists do.
4. Artists are earning less now than they were 10 years ago
Then some other observations. When I studied law at university, if I studied reasonably hard then I could expect to pass, if I studied a lot then I could expect to do reasonably well- or certainly this was my experience- effort and work ethic got results. However no matter how hard I study or work at my art, I cannot have the same expectations in my arts practice, so that when submitting for funding or even for selection each time I get a rejection it is a failure no matter the effort or the work I have put in – it is like I have failed in my approach to my work ethic or my effort ethic- and this is where the crisis really starts: the thought that the work stinks emerges. Another factor is each time you are rejected you have spent money in putting things together and another avenue is closed from which you may expect some return. But then I looked at the links of the artists that were selected and whilst I am not making judgements about the work- I know what I submitted stood up in the company- it had philosophical underpinning and it has a place in future textile practice and at the very least could be used in the fashion industry. I am also rather glad I have shown the work to people for I know that my believing in the work is not a delusion. I also know at least one of them has had previous Ozco grant.
But still there are very real chinks in the brittle armour that is my self belief in my work. I don’t think I will get much done today ( for a start I got up way too early) but I now have to rebuild- and frankly I am finding it harder and harder to dig into myself to find the wherewithal to keep going and rebuilding after each disappointment. The person I contacted at Ozco was very positive and encouraged me to submit again- but it takes a lot of energy to get an application together- making sure the wording is right, making sure your images are the best they can be. The other thing is, do I use the same body of work or do I need to create another “new” body of work? And if it is to be new I am not sure I have the energy– I had hoped to be developing something I had already begun but which needs further research and time to come into its full vision I have for it.
And then ultimately I stand staring at that long tunnel with its litter of rejection slips and crumpled hopes and I wonder whether it is truly light at the end or just the emerging dawn which will bring children getting ready for school, food to be found for lunches, dropping off at the school bus and then the empty workroom which yesterday had seemed a different place than it is today. Today I face it with trepidation for what had seemed so certain yesterday now seems shallow and “decorative”, and I am not sure I want to make it. And ultimately no matter how many groups there are each artist stands alone and faces their crises alone. I often crave a mentor- but really what could a mentor advise when I am feeling like this? I would like to think that Gandalf comes riding on the dawn with the Roherin, but life is no fairytale and what I need to find is the energy and the will to just do it.So I guess I had better get to it.