This topic came up in a friend’s LiveJournal this morning. She wrote how she didn’t view success in terms of how much money she made from her work (whether as an artist or her previous career in social work), but rather in how she made people feel (through her beautiful work or how she helped her clients). I don’t think it has to be an either/or type of answer (and neither does my friend), and I believe it is possible to have both, and in the case of some people it does seem that the better they make people feel (whether through their art or writing, or other pursuits such as being a sports or movie star) the more money they make.
Last year one of my goals was to submit for a grant from the Ohio Arts Council. I have learned over the years that when writing goals you need to make them Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Which is why the goal was to submit the work, which is an Achievable target. Actually getting the grant is another thing entirely.
With that in mind, these are the images I submitted for the grant application. All of the pieces had to be created within the last three years of the application. I chose to submit the work from my water tower series.
Gaffney, SC 2007 40” H x 28” W
Route 33, Summer Morning 2008 47” x 44”
Marilyn 2008 62” x 76”
What Lies Beneath 2009 76” x 42”
White Lies 2008 83” x 48”
Night Moves 2008 32” x 31”
Abundance 2008 15” x 22”
Winter White 2009 60” x 50”
Ophelia’s Sisters 2009 22” x 40”
Garden Party 2010 44” x 45”
Twilight 2010 38” x 40”
Andrews AFB 2010 80” x 54”
Because I had consistently created work over the past three years, filling the required image part of the application was easy. Writing the artist statement, which I usually find painful and difficult, was easy, thanks to techniques I’ve learned using Havi Brooks’ Dissolving Procrastination book. This year I actually had the application in two weeks before the deadline, and I felt really good about it.
Then I got the email on January 4th, telling me I did not get a grant.
Was I disappointed? You bet. I feel this is the best application I’ve submitted for this grant in the ten years I’ve tried for one. I love my artist statement and I love my work. It would have been nice to have the validation (not to mention the money) of receiving one of the grants.
But I still consider myself a success. Because I put the work out there and applied.