"There are certain side effects from the process of applying for an Australia Council grant which prove to an artist the reason for creating works and continuing to further develop their practice.
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.