Alaska Robotics


Monday, March 2nd 2009 by Pat


Just under the wire, I finished my application for the Rasmuson Foundation individual artist project grant. It was Swiss cheesed with spelling errors and chunky grammar but I think I patched up most of the big holes.

This is my second go-around, in 2005, I received $5k from Rasmuson to cover airfare, housing, and tuition at TheFilmSchool. It was an incredible, life-changing experience but the grant application process was terrifying. My work was evaluated and I had to be judged, not just as a filmmaker, but as an artist.

Art involves experimentation and, ultimately, failure. It’s easy to doubt your skill, purpose, and value as an artist because you offer an intangible contribution to society, an immeasurable product of effort.

Above all, art can feel like a monumentally selfish pursuit. It becomes hard to justify why you’re an artist, much less, why anyone should give you free money to put towards your work.

In the beginning, it’s incredibly difficult to begin thinking of yourself as an artist, it feels false, stiff, and uncomfortable… like a new pair of Carharts or unwashed thrift store clothes still bearing an odd amalgamated scent.

I’ve always thought of myself as creative but calling myself an artist is like saying “I love you,” there’s a frightening power and a slice of fierce uncertainty. It’s easier to feel than to say.

3 Responses to “Jell-O-Vision”

  1. Gage says:

    I may think differently when the robots take over, but for now I think the best way you, Pat Race, can contribute to society is by creating art and continuing to help art-oriented organizations (i.e. JUMP). I’d way rather have you writing awesome comic strips than writing code for the man.

    And for some reason I think it’s pretentious to say “I am an artist.” I don’t know why. I think you’re supposed to let other people say that about you. You can say “I am a filmmaker” or “I make comics” without pretention, though.

  2. Pat says:

    I like that Gage, it’s almost like an “artist” is more of a compliment than an occupation.

  3. Arlo says:

    I’m exactly the same way; I feel uncomfortable even thinking of myself as an artist, but…

    What about those people that go to school and earn an MFA? Would they be able to (unironically) call themselves artists?