Having been assessed by a 'panel of my peers' four times through applying for an Artstart grant and having been 'rejected' four times, the result can be an internal questioning of my arts practice.
Am I not talented enough? Is my work not contemporary enough? Do I not communicate my concepts well enough?
Self-doubt can be a cruel master. Logically, I know the rounds to be highly competitive and the percentages are low for those that actually succeed. Logically, I know that I will get feedback and I will see where I can improve in my next application. Logically, I know that I have two more applications left."
Above are the words I wrote in December 2013, just before applying for the fifth time to the Australia Council for an ArtStart Grant. I am happy to note that I am now 11 months through a year-long series of ArtStart funded activities. There is something very sweet about having to work hard to obtain your goals. Things that don't come easy are appreciated to a higher degree and while I don't recommend spending two and a half years writing the same grant, I do know that I grew as an artist and as a person during the process.
Once you make the choice to be a practicing artist, you must have the confidence and self-belief that spurs you forward when no-one else gives you a second glance. Eventually, your enthusiasm will be noticed. This is nothing to do with putting on a brave face and 'faking it until you make it', but about having a core belief that whatever happens, you will continue to make art because that is what you are meant to do.
Self-belief is a very powerful quality. It can take you from the pits of despair and help you accomplish your dreams. I am living proof of that.