For about a minute (3 years, actually, I think), I had a fiscal sponsor so that I would be eligible to apply for grants as an artist. I think I applied for three grants in the first six months of my sponsorship. I did not get even a nibble of interest in my proposals, which I expected to happen, having been competing for exhibitions, gigs and cash as an artist for most of my adult life and thus knowing rejection is part of the artist’s life.
I suppose I could say that I gave up, even though I maintained the sponsorship just in case while feverishly creating work that I spend (not that much cash outlay on, really) most of my waking hours making, somebody else magically appeared and offered me a grant that I needed a fiscal sponsor to administer.
But I could also say that since I’ve mostly paid for my own work and dealt directly as an independent artist with art dealers, collectors, theater producers, casting directors, video art curators and film festival administrators, that nobody is my boss except me and I am not beholden to anyone except my husband who is periodically inconvenienced by stage sets all over the apartment.
Anybody who puts their work “out there” is participating in the System no matter how much they might rail against it – as I will never stop pointing out that art dealers, curators and producers would not have anything to do if artists stopped making art or just didn’t play with art dealers, curators and producers anymore.
Independent artists, even ferociously independent artists like me – who would rather fail and or be repeatedly rejected than take commissions, fill out forms and reports, create and justify budgets, follow protocols that exist primarily because of bylaws nobody’s ever read since the person who wrote them, and commingle with patrons – are just as much part of the System as those folks who get all the grants.
The System is anybody considering your work at all for any reason and to any end.