Friday, September 4, 2009

Artistic Proposal Sample: Liz Roth, Exhibition (2 of 2)

Since artists need to write about their work to apply for great opportunities, I am going to spend a few posts focused on the nuts and bolts of artistic proposals. What better way than to show some actual proposals!? Thankfully some artists were willing to share.

Below is a taste of the proposal writing Artist Survival Kit workshops that artist Liz Roth will lead for OVAC. An artist and professor, Roth is well worth listening to on this topic as she's exhibited nationally and received residencies in Japan, Vermont, Wyoming, and Alaska. In this successful proposal (she won a $1,500 grant), Roth shows a clearer, more compelling project description.

"24 Paintings in 24 Hours: Woodman’s will be a painting performance and exhibit that encapsulates a Madison slice of life, in a distinctly non-art venue. I will paint 24 (8” x 10”) oil painted portraits, created on-site at Woodman’s grocery store at a rate of one per hour, of any patron who chooses to sit for such a portrait. This process will also be video taped time-lapse for future viewing and web distribution. As the paintings are completed, they are hung on a wall in a grid pattern. The paintings will be exhibited at Woodman’s for a month.

The project serves to create a time-capsule of what Madison, Wisconsin residents look like in a moment in time. This project also functions as an event – people love to watch artists work, and they are flattered to have their portraits painted, and art that happens in the middle of the night, let alone in a grocery store, is always intriguing.

I have created two individual 24/24 projects already, with accompanying time-lapse video, and am therefore well prepared to organize and negotiate such an event/show.

The project has several unstated purposes – one is the investigation of what venues are actually open all night in a city, and who it is that frequents these venues. The unspoken purpose of this specific project is to focus on the invisibility of class (and race) in Madison. I frequently meet people who literally do not see homeless people, or poor people in Madison, because our town, like so many others, is informally segregated. Ideally, painting at Woodman’s is the beginning of a series of venues around Madison. Other locations under consideration are Stop-n-Go, all night gas stations, and the jail.

Because I am an observational oil painter, and the resulting portrait paintings bear a great likeness to those I depict, the resulting show functions as a series of attractive, interesting portraits. In this way, the political inclinations of the work can slowly dawn on people as they enjoy the esthetic values of the work. I am interested in creating beautiful work that is political without being pedantic. Also, I like the idea of using a high-art medium (oil painting a personal portrait) to make people who are invisible, visible."

Julia's Comments: Ahhh, much clearer now. Roth offers a distinct, delimited project in this narrative. She demonstrates that she has planned this project and understands why she is proposing it. She offers details like size, a timeline, a location, as well as explaining her artistic vision. The icing on the cake, to a funder's ear, she offers some plans for the artwork AFTER the project is completed (documenting through time-lapse so she can distribute online). This sounds like someone that will make good use of financial support!

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