It’s true that the hardest thing of all is writing a proposal for open calls. when you have to describe how you will develop your work and how it will be of use to the world in some way. Why are these so hard to do? I can confirm that I know why they are for me. It’s because, as I go through your portfolio, and relook at my work, and try to put into words where I are attempting to go with my ideas in the future, I start to doubt myself, and it all starts to look like a heap of silly, self indulgent, trite crap.

Lately I’ve applied/am applying for a couple of open calls.

One for This Gallery, who hold online juried exhibitions. I made a new piece for this, about being at home, and trying to hold onto a belief system that art is worth something and that I am making art that it worthy of being made. I got this submitted, albeit with lots of tech hassle.

For the submission I wrote: (250 words exactly)

Daily Affirmations.

I am a genius. Ludicrous or life affirming? We in Ireland, March 2021, are currently once again under a pandemic related lockdown. We may travel only 5k from our homes for essential reasons only. We are permitted no social visiting of any kind and all schools and non-essential businesses are closed.

This work is a both revolt against and a coping mechanism for the stresses of being at home, day in day out.

During this lockdown I see my ageing face in the mirror more than I wish to. I am confronted with my life passing and find myself hypothesising on what could be done if I had more space, more time. At the same time I must accept and embrace the situation that I find myself in. I am here now, so here is where the making must happen.

In a gesture of rejection of the daily apathy of lockdown and its contrasting effects of claustrophobia and agoraphobia I force myself to make this affirmation each day. It serves as a reminder to myself that as each day passes here at home, I prefer to feel mad despair, quiet rage and to laugh at my own stubbornness than sink into resigned apathy and bored dissatisfaction. I will not fade out and go away. My time is not up yet.

I claim my space and my right to be here, to create and to make. I will not waste it. Speak it, believe it. I am a genius.

Daily Affirmations

And a more comprehensive application for

LIVE WORKS – Free School of Performance (19th april projects announced)
OPEN CALL. a project by Centrale Fies

Well I got this finished, yesterday, with the usual post submission flood of anti climactic anxiety. When you put energy and time into a proposal, edit and rewrite, fine tune, and finally send it, and the reward is a sign on the screen saying thank you for submitting. After all that pain! Truly the world owes us nothing. I will revisit what I wrote at a later stage, I need separation from the words for now. After I went out and pulled roots out of the ground and picked stones for an hour. Most medicinal.

On a nice note, Bronagh Lawson, Northern Irish Artist, included my work from Line of Thought in her Belfast round up, which was gratifying.

Someone told me that getting people to write about your work is paramount. Not may people have done (why on earth not???!!!) so this is nice. Bronagh is on the board of Pssquared studios who put on Line Of Thought so she has a vested interest but still. She also attended the Becoming Becoming workshops with BBeyond and through an exchange we had there she sent me stuff on a project she did when she visited every church in Belfast for a service last year.

My Mum is from Rasharkin, Co Antrim, and grew up in a Free Presbytarian household. That may not have any significance for most people as you would need a background in the complexities of religion in Northern Ireland. I’m not going into that now, suffice to say I always remember my Mum’s stories of having to attend church as a child and listen to Ian Paisley shout and bluster from his pulpit (her words not mine) about sin. Apparently a lot of stuff was sinful in the Free Presbyterian Church. Like makeup. She detested it. Bronagh’s work brought back loads of memories to me about visiting Antrim and all the people we knew there, as a kid and travelling up and down through the border. 

OK writing time up here, kids are awake.