Going outside my comfort level…..


I am currently writing two grants.  I hesitate to tell you this because I don’t want to jinx it and actually want to complete the process this year.  Writing (and applying for) a grant has been a long time goal I never seem to accomplish.  (A) I have a really hard time asking for money. But since this past year has pretty much left me at poverty level – seems like the best time ever. So then (B) I have to come up with actual reasons why I need money.  OK I can come up with a few things… and then I have to make them sound really good in the process. Then (C) I need a few references or letters of recommendation.  OK. This is the hard part. I HATE hate HATE asking people for favors.  Also, I am at this point where I can look at those around me – and I have come to the conclusion that I really don’t have very many art friends.  I don’t have many art friends that are at a “letter of recommendation level,” or artists that I actually feel comfortable enough with asking a favor from – for them to take a good chunk out of their day to sit down and write a letter of recommendation for me. Everyone is always so busy, and I am not exactly the greatest friend in the world – worthy of stopping your lucrative work for. Even those artists that I have managed to completely piss off over the years – I don’t think I would have asked them for this favor even if we were on good terms. I am just not that nice of a person for people (other artists) to fall all over themselves and go out of their way for.  I realize this.  I only have myself to blame.

So, I have to either start being nicer to people (joy), make new art friends (great – I hate new people), get my parents, or boyfriend vouch for me (OK that is really gay), or just write such letters of recommendation for myself and sign Picasso’s, or whomever’s fake name to it (pathetic.) Hummm.

Any suggestions on how to go about asking someone? The sort of have to be credible, and articulate as well. I wonder if there are people/artists you can pay on the Internet that will do this for you (MENTAL NOTE: to create such service if there is not one already).  I wonder how long this letter actually has to be. It seems that if you were going to honestly write about how wonderful me/my art was you would at least need 3-4 single spaced pages worth of prose to effectively convey the true essence of my being. Ha.

Living in a small town I feel so isolated. I actually have some really good friends – people that think I am the absolute bomb, they are just not artists.

So I am telling you all this so  it will actually force me to rise up to the occasion and complete the grant writing process and actually find a few people to write something nice about me and my art. So wish me luck.



Filed under Artist Ramblings

2 responses to “Going outside my comfort level…..

  1. Hi Casey
    For what it’s worth remember that many other artists have been in your shoes at some point and know what it is like so they may be more willing than you think to write a reference. Secondly it is a great compliment to be asked to write a reference because it shows respect and admiration for the referee.

    I also think that one or two references from a well respected artist is worth more. Maybe you could think of anyone who has shown interest in your work and might write a reference. From my perspective the process is ultimately about the art, your level of commitment and passion to create and don’t forget that the artwork can be brave and courageous for you.

    • Casey Matthews

      I my mind, I think I should ask an artist or art professional who is somewhat successful, not exactly “emerging”, but somewhat established. Someone who is known locally, regionally. Maybe that is not the case, that they will just take a recommendation from anyone, but that is criteria I envision – at least for one of these Grants.

      I had one artist in mind – someone I know somewhat well enough to begrudgingly ask a favor of, but I know this artist wrote another recommendation for someone last year and I heard her complain non stop to everyone else around – how this recommendation was taking time out of their (money making) day, or what little free time they have. And while this artist would not tell me “no,” I am sure they will complain about me as well (like I have heard them do so many times before.) And it is just not worth it to me – for the recommendation to be strained and insincere. I think I should have someone who really believes in me. The problem is I don’t really let people (other artists) get that close to me. There are two other artists I could ask but I don’t know them very well. Most of the established artists I know are completely busy, and/or are complete recluses, and/or have very few friends and/or have some sort of mental problems, and/or have social anxiety, and/or substance abuse and /or a drinking problem. And the whole process seems daunting. Why can’t people just be normal?

      Anyway. I am going to write the actual grant then worry about the recommendation later – instead of having that part cripple me from writing it in the first place. I can always have a gallery owner do it for me I guess. I have time to figure it out.

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