The Grant mindset do-si-so

Monday, June 04, 2007

It’s grant-rant time at the rejection-go-round.


Rejections are hard, I have established this in this blog. I got another grant rejection yesterday so today’s topic is an outward-facing inner review of just why, again. Grant rejection letters make you wonder at the validity of your work and since applications are due months before rejection letters arrive, they mark the end of a long process of balancing between hope and cynicism.

It’s like being thrown off the psychic mechanical bull at the square dance, after a long stomach-churning do-si-do of hope and faux disdain, which feels like tectonic plates heaving upwards and landing on each other in an ever-changing balancing act of daydreaming and cynicism.

“One plate meets another along a plate boundary, and plate boundaries are commonly associated with geological events such as earthquakes and the creation of topographic features like mountains, volcanoes and oceanic trenches.” ~Wikipedia

The plate boundaries are like the zones between this possibility and resignation. When applying for a grant it is important not to get ones hopes up, yet to remain optimistic. This state demarcates a plate boundary and, this is where the possibility of a psychogeological event like a meltdown, or perhaps an emotional rockslide, can occur. This is also where the creation of topographic features is possible, like a pile of confidence or a budget for professional photography. Photography is important.

*They* say that you are only as good as your worst slide. I have some really bad slides and I have some good slides. My work is huge and heavy and costly to have moved. My studio is not set up for photography and hasn’t enough room for a photographer and equipment. And then one needs to have a budget for photography.

The ABC grant people have informational talks where they show slides that are good and slides that are bad. I bet mine are shown in the bad category since I often take my own pictures for lack of ability to hire a photographer for each piece. But what about the work? I have been told by a coordinator at the ABC grant council that the work is important BUT the photography MUST be extremely professional. It must have proper lighting and be taken from the best angle and must be of utmost quality or the work is not considered. I get that. It can’t be a hack job.

I strive for these things. The pictures on my website look pretty nice. Some were taken by photographers, but not all. This makes inconsistency in my slides. Maybe there should be a grant to award photography for artists who cannot afford to have their work photographed. But then at some point is not the artistry and skill of the photographer an element of the work actually being granted? But maybe its not the photography of my work that wrote yesterday’s letter. Did I ever think of *that*? Well, yes, in my newly more-humbled than usual state.

I have decided to test this; I am going to win the lottery and then hire a team of photographers from New York City to come and spend a month shooting my work. Then I am going to apply for this grant again and report back here next year. Since this grant is not need-based my winning the lottery will not affect my application. But then I won’t need the grant. But then, maybe my ego will. Need-based grants get a wide variety of applicants too.

There are 3 types of plate boundaries; Transform boundaries (in which case the plates slide past each other like ships that pass in the night), Divergent boundaries (plates slide apart from each other like childhood friends), and Convergent boundaries (think sliding toward, like people running toward each other across a field of flowers, with a soft-focus lens).

I think my plate boundaries are divulgent because clearly I am wallowing in self-pity. But I am not whining, just *reasoning aloud* with myself.

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