I’ve applied for this award a couple times before, it’s prestige attracts thousands of entrants, of whom maybe 1 or 2% win the prize, which is validation and a fortune. Validation is worth way more than the fortune, which is new Camry money, or after taxes, used Camry money. Validation is the tarmac the Camry rides on, it fills the potholes of the past and it smooths the road ahead. I’m currently stuck in traffic and my check engine light is on, so it’s a good time to work on my third application for this award.
The application requires a resume, a personal essay, and three references from professionals in my field. The resume gets a shape up, cutting old shows and adding new ones, easy. The references are harder, I need respected peers who respect me, and I haven’t asked before. In my mind this is a pretty sparse venn diagram of available candidates, so I’ll put that on hold for now. The personal essay is the hardest, and the smart move is to do the hardest work first, so let me tell you how its going here on this stretch of road I’ll call Highway 50.
I am 50 years old, and I have painted every day of this year. I am painting better and more fluid than ever before, I am faster and more accurate in translating what I’m seeing into what I am painting. But as much as I have painted this year, I don’t have paintings to show for it, it’s mostly mural work. Theres a few posters for Rock bands I admire, and a couple commercial gigs that I can’t talk about here, and that’s the sum total of my creative year. The last time I had a year that was all spraypaint and band flyers was 1989, and I was 21. How did I get back to this point after all these years? Is this really progress? Even if it is progress, is it worthy of an award? Excellent questions, I’ll take them one at a time.
When I was 21 I was painting one word, ESPO, and it wasn’t until I was 30 that I got tired of the escapade. So I traded one word for all the other words and I became an artist. The difference between my graffiti and my art is this; When I paint my name on a wall you get mad, but when I paint your name on a wall you get happy. And that essentially is what I’m doing in 2018, filling walls with the names of the prominent people of a community in a community, for the community. It’s a good way to leverage the esteem building power of graffiti in the service of everybody. So that’s definitely progress, but is it award worthy? Short answer is no. With all the painting I’ve been doing, I missed the deadline for applying for the award this year. That’s ok, painting every day is it’s own award. I’ll try again next year, Maybe I’ll have some paintings to show, maybe