Wednesday, 17 July 2013

The Lincoln Simulacrum

I'm currently busy developing a project for the Digital Arts Festival in October, inviting Lincoln based artists, illustrators, photographers, and creatives to submit work to be eventually displayed on an Apparatjik-style Cube. 
I decided that the Cube is going to be called The Lincoln Simulacrum, a reference to Jean Baudrillard. 
I've drafted up an Arts Council grant application, and went for a meeting with Tiina Hill from the Arts Council to discuss the project on 4th July.
This is a lot later than I'd really like, as I was hoping to get the project put together and submitted by the end of June. I've now completed and submitted the arts council funding application, and now have to wait to find out of it's successful. 

I'm otherwise been busy working on an illustration commission for harpist Erin Hill, and trying to work out how I might be affected by these proposals for Universal Credit from next April. I've largely stopped doing as much work since January, when I developed a huge fear that, as a self-employed artist and illustrator, I would not have any income to support myself and my kids if I'm not earning any other income, due to this "minimum income floor" that was concocted without any consultation with me. If the government had asked me, I could've told them that I don't earn enough for the work I do already, never mind have any more cuts to that income. I could've informed them that when I got divorced, I escaped a financially abusive marriage, and I didn't expect to be financially abused further by rich toffs sitting on ugly green sofas, generally not doing a lot of work themselves, and earning huge salaries, whilst those of us actually creating and producing things struggle to pay the bills.

Recently, I went to Citizen's Advice to try and find out how I might be affected by Universal Credit. 
In 2009-2010 I was subject to a lot of financial abuse and gaslighting by the DWP, and was made homeless as a result. I now pay £75 more rent a month, a cost I was trying really hard to avoid. As was homelessness and abuse.

This is all subject material for my current graphic novel.

I decided that it is incredibly important that single parents highlight and showcase the problems so-called "austerity" is creating, and the sheer hypocrisy and abuse being dictated to society. I'm angry that 5 years on, nothing has been done to stop these proposals, that they're rolled out and no one is even allowed to object to them.

I have no intention to be subjected to less income due to Universal Credit. My costs will remain the same if not more, costs keep going up, not down, and unless they do go down, or unless I'm paid adequately for the work I do, any reduction in income isn't financially viable. 
I don't get paid for writing this blog.

And I don't have any intention of going to the Jobcentre and having to search for their non-existent and impossible jobs. I'm not leaving my degree off my CV, as I worked damned hard to get that, and I did that so that I could earn more, not be forced to take up any underqualified work to struggle to pay the bills. If I'm struggling to survive, I'm generally not creating anything. 

I could, in theory, spend months creating really awful work, but it's all part of a process of experimentation that will lead onto something good, and all creativity is subject to the risk of failure. James Dyson I believe made lots of prototypes before he came up with a viable design for his vacuum cleaner, and he was creating a mere product, a consumer device, not working on anything that is for the development of the human soul, which is what art serves to do. 

In other news, the kids break up for the summer holidays tomorrow. I have a meeting to discuss other potential projects, but will mostly not get much work done for 5 weeks. The is known as "shirking". I've already updated last years' application for the AA2A scheme, so that I can re-apply to support the graphic novel. This years' application is looking much better already.