Funding – Bootstrapping passion projects

I started out, because I had a little bit of academic experience with grant writing and grants, I started out kind of thinking about art from that perspective and writing grants and so my first big projects were grant funded or non profits, Bernie Man for example, funded a very large piece of mine way back when so that’s kind of how that started for me, I was a competent writer so I could write these long proposals and it didn’t scare me to do that, as much as I didn’t like doing it, I could do it.

So I kind of started in on that perspective, at the same time I obviously had a good design eye and I was getting hired to do design work and I did some really successful design work, I had designed some restaurants that had been really successful and I was designing some homes and doing some architectural stuff that was successful and I was making good money at that and in the middle I would have these grants that would fund a giant laser harp or a new big sculpture and this kind of slowly meandered along with me doing design work, I would design websites, corporate ID, all of that kind of stuff that designers do.

But what happened was, while the design stuff was very successful, I loved the art stuff so that started to accumulate so I got a grant, then I got another grant and then there was a request for a museum show and so it seems like it started out as one thing a year, then it was twice a year, and then it started to completely started to overtake everything I was doing and it happened really organically, I have to be honest, now I’m just slammed with artwork, I’m doing like a big art show every two weeks so it just seemed like it was getting more and more and more and the business did shift, I don’t do grants anymore and now the majority of my clients are cities and that just really happened organically.

It’s difficult to know how to, I’m doing large interactive sculpture and there isn’t a path that I can follow and I mean I’ve worked with some pretty amazing and famous artists like Klaus Holden Burke who does huge pop permanent sculptures, I mean he’s up there with Richard Serra, and I spent some time with him and he was he was like I don’t know,  you just have to go with the flow and figure it out ok this city wants this ok this city wants this you’re just constantly catching up and trying to kind of figuring it out. For me it’s definitely been that structure, I’ve done a lot of marketing, I have not done a lot of outward requests and it’s just very slowly and organically grown.