Submitting this application nearly didn’t happen. If not for Heather at 4culture encouraging me to submit work samples a month after the official deadline had passed, I’d have not been in the running for this $12,000 grant. Here’s what I’d forgotten I wrote, and the work samples I included.
Inspiration: I am compelled to create art naturally, to the point that since 2015 I have lived mostly in my van and sustained myself through odd jobs and my modest patreon campaign. My background as a sexual abuse survivor and female-presenting person informs much of the anti-patriarchal pro-feminist tones in my music. My development as a nonbinary person informs my aesthetic and my activism. My life-long battle with mental illness and suicidal ideaton informs much of my writing, and is often the motivation for my visual art, paintings and self photography. Right now I am encouraged to collaborate more with other artists and art groups to enhance existing projects and help inform the solo work I do, and taking existing projects to the next level.
Vision: In three years I plan on having an official gallery show (as opposed to the informal shows I’ve done with already existing work — I wanna have to paint for 6 months!). I’d like to take some visual art classes — drawing, painting — and improve the age and condition of my mobile studio (fancy words for the van I live in). I’d like to be ahead enough in the scramble to survive financially to have the energy to fill out more applications like these, to have grants and awards even on my radar. I’d like to have completed an artist residency and toured my music internationally. I’d like to continue to pursue artists modeling, as performative expression and to cultivate a larger community of trusted collaborators. I will find a way to do all of this; $12k and the backing of being a grant-awarded artist will significantly impact my ability to inch forward in all of these respects.
Relevant Expertise / Experience / Accomplishments: Performing and teaching circus aerial since 2004 at SANCA (past) and Versatile Arts (current). Going to Brian Utting School of Massage in 2007. Co-founding Vita Arts, a 501(c)(3) arts org in 2009 (and recognizing it was time to leave in 2013). Directing “How art saved my life” in 2011 for Vita Arts, a combination theater performance and multi-disciplinary workshop I designed as creative director of the company. Performance directing for multiple years with the Seattle Erotic Art Festival. Busking alone on the street of New Orleans was a terrifying, and fulfilling experience both as a performer and a musician — it took me two weeks curled up in the van to finally do it, and I have not been the same since then. Moving into a van and touring the country, twice, is probably in there too — and I plan on doing it again this winter. I received what I would consider my ‘liberal arts’ education as a 6-year troupe member of the Little Red Studio, where I had a space and a community with which to develop as an artist, painting my largest acrylic pieces and debut directing a 40-cast member show in which I wrote and starred and performed aerial. I have always used art to express my overwhelming emotions and be seen in my developments by others, it is my main form of connection with people and one of the most profound ways I inspire others.
Highlight: For this I choose to tell you about Embodied, a self-produced, directed, and performed show I put on at Fred Wildlife Refuge in 2011. I funded the project via Kickstarter — the first time I ever asked for money to do my work. I created the video projections shown on the wall, I created the music, I designed my costume, I bookended the musical performance with aerial performance pieces, I put on the two-night show while raging sick, I edited and released both the behind the scenes documentary as well as mastering the two albums (retail and limited edition for backers) and creating the album artwork. The show was deeply personal, tackling the subject of the parental abandonment and the fracturing identity that was the psychic result.