When you come to Germany as an artist at risk, it's not easy at first: you don't speak the language, you don't know the funding landscape, you need orientation. Gabriel Vallecillo Márquez came to Berlin from Honduras on a Weltoffenes Berlin grant and is a good example of how a foreign artist can quickly establish himself in the capital with patience and effort. At the end of 2020, he was with us in consultation. We want to know from him: What did the consultation bring? How does he finance himself?
Kulturförderpunkt Berlin: Hi Gabriel. Please introduce yourself: Who are you and what do you do?
Gabriel Vallecillo Márquez: Ok. My name is Gabriel Vallecillo Márquez, I’m an artist from Honduras. In March 2019, I came as resident artist to Zentrum für Kunst und Urbanistik (ZK/U) through a scholarship from Weltoffenes Berlin, since the artwork that I was doing put me in risk because of its political-ecological implications. I create video installations, documentary films, projectionmapping, and currently starting a curatorial research project. Moreover, I have written and published couple of poetry books.
Kulturförderpunkt Berlin: How did you get to know about structures of cultural funding in Berlin?
Gabriel Vallecillo Márquez: One of the persons who brought me here is Paz Ponce, a curator focusing, among others, on latinamerican art and like me a part of the artist collective Neue Häute. She fought for me and helped me with my grant and all the paperwork for my residency at ZK/U and was eager to connect me to other artists. She was also the one who introduced me to Andrzej from Kulturförderpunkt and Creative City Berlin.
Kulturförderpunkt Berlin: You talked to Andrzej in a consultation end of 2020. What was the purpose of your coming? And how could he help you?
Gabriel Vallecillo Márquez: Basically, it was about how I’m able to survive in Berlin as an artist after my residency at ZK/U and funding had ended. I, of course, didn’t want to go back to my country, because it was too dangerous for me and the situation is not good, so I needed a perspective on new opportunities and the logic of the funding system in Germany. In this respect, Andrzej helped me to sort out my options in two different areas. First, general funding for surviving, for instance what projects can I apply to, what grants are available etc. The second part was to connect me to people with similar projects and artistic approaches. He helped me to crystallize my interests, my art work, and my portfolio; from there on, he could give me detailed information about the right contacts and application options, also the timeline for the respective applications. We have had about three consultations, I think, but he continued giving me advice via email. And I can tell you, I applied for everything! So, finally I got lucky; for my current project, Gargantúa, which is a research project for a projection magazine, I got funding through NEUSTART für Bildende Künstlerinnen und Künstler (Modul D: Digitale Vermittlungsformate).
You need a lot of patience with the applications for the funding pots, every word counts. You really have to invest time. It's work. So, don't take it lightly and be as precise as possible
Kulturförderpunkt Berlin: On a scale of 1 to "Woohoo": How successful would you describe the whole application process?
Gabriel Vallecillo Márquez: It was hard in the beginning, my German language abilities is very limited, so I had to find my way through the jungle of the applications. For most of them you have to be able to speak or write in German. So, in this regard, it was not easy. But sure, in the end, I got really lucky, so I think, it was a great success.
Kulturförderpunkt Berlin: Do you have any advice to share with people who don’t speak German and would like to apply for funding?
Gabriel Vallecillo Márquez: Well, I’d say, you need a lot of patience with those applications, every word matters. You really have to dedicate your time to this. It’s work. Don’t take it lightly, be precise.