Mind Games & Chewing off your own leg

Recently, while teaching a class on getting patrons and sponsors for artists, I have seen artists struggle in different ways and then accomplish what they are after (getting funds).

The reason some artists don’t get funds or support in the class, is usually because they have not written a letter. They have not asked. But as some students struggle and succeed they reflect on what happened.

One woman said, “I had so much trouble asking for money, but I have no problem applying for a grant, which is an ask for money, because I know they want to give me money, they want to share the wealth.”

Then she went on to say, “What if I thought that of all the people I write to for being sponsors or patrons? What if I thought that they too, want to give away money and share the wealth?”

There were many comments after that, but it was about a shift in thinking she was going through. If when applying for a grant, it is comfortable because you make an assumption about the people getting your application, why can’t we make the same assumption about other sponsors and patrons – and that would be the equivalent of allowing yourself to receive more?

Another woman said, “I’d rather chew off my own leg than ask someone for money” and then she explained how she asked a radio station for support of a project and got $500 and airtime. She was shocked, but then reflected, “It’s all a mind game, now I am looking forward to this course!”

If you are reading this on Memorial Day weekend, I wish you a great one.

If you are wondering exactly what this message is about, it is fairly simple and fairly abstract – can you play a game with your own mind and assume that everyone wants to buy your work or show it?


For this holiday weekend, I will leave you with one of my Yale University radio interview with Dan Price, a photographer that lives on about 5,000 dollars a year in Oregon. He has a great story, was sponsored by a shoe company for a while and met Robert Frank after a long correspondence and more, I think you will enjoy it, and there is also a news video on the interview post – listen and watch by clicking here.

Sincerely,

Brainard

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