It's been about a year-and-a-half since I began this project, from its inception, to development of a thesis and grant proposal, photo studies, grant applications and finally to the creation of paintings. On some levels, it may seem like its dead in the water. I have yet to receive a single dime in grant money, mainly due to two important factors: 1) there is little interest in the development in a project like this from the institutions who hand out free money, and 2) I am now gainfully employed as a graphic designer (albeit as a freelancer with no firm commitment towards a future) which seriously hurts my credibility as a struggling artist who needs financial assistance.
I could add a third factor to that list, saying that one reason the grant money avenue is a dead end is because I have simply stopped asking. This would mainly have been precipitated by the first two. I don't, however, wish for anyone that's interested to get the impression that because I was never able to raise funds for the project that it's an abject failure.
The execution may not have followed exactly the path that I originally wanted, but things are plodding along. The main motivation for looking for handouts was to avoid the need for employment while developing the project, thus enabling me to finish a strong body of work of a respectable size in a timely fashion (1 year as opposed to 5 or 10). It was obviously not considered important enough by the grant-giving institutions that this project be funded as something to benefit the public. I still maintain that it would be, but the lack of interest from the foundations is not going to stop me from proceeding.
I suppose it would be nice if I can get a couple of thousands of dollars to supply materials for photo shoots and paintings, but I am capable of supporting myself and my family, while still not breaking the bank by purchasing paint and canvas. I have saved all of my receipts in the event that I do get a small grant and I will attempt to apply it retroactively. I should have some fun trying to explain that someday if it ever happens.
Another element of FMFTS which has seemingly dried up is my research, which was pretty intense in the Fall of 2009. The reason that I haven't done any recently is because I have done all I need to do at this point. I have another photo shoot in mind for the warmer months, but as of now I have plenty of imagery from my last two shoots to get me going and keep me going for some time.
The videos for the project, as well as articles for Broad Street Review, have also stopped, but as they were intended to accompany photo shoots to the area, it seems kind of obvious why I haven't done either of those for a while. My last photo shoot was May 2010, and the next in each of those series will not exist until I go back again.
This brings me to the heart of the matter: the paintings. It must not be forgotten that the primary focus of this endeavor is, was, and always will be the creation of a body of work. I can say with confidence that this phase of FMFTS is moving along very nicely. I only wish it could be moving along much more swiftly.
I can also say that the project has prompted a slightly new direction in my work. One look at the three newest paintings demonstrates that I am no longer satisfied with the tight, academic discipline of my past work (I'm not including links here, you'll just have to go and explore older posts to see photos of new paintings). I apologize if this comes as a bit of a disappointment to any fans of my older work. But things change. Artistic styles evolve. There are always new things to explore and express. I'm very satisfied with the feedback I've gotten and I am myself satisfied with what I've accomplished.