That’s not Southwest Airlines telling me I’m free to move about the country.
That’s the sound of rejection.
It’s a fact of life of artists — and most everybody else, I suppose. Rejections happens. What you do with it determines how successful you are and how much character you have.
I must have character in droves these days.
Ding!All year long I apply to juried exhibits, galleries, residencies, art fairs. I get accepted to quite a few. I have two exhibits hanging right now, one a solo show of selections from the St. Louis and
White series hanging in the Board of Aldermen’s meeting room at St. Louis City Hall. Still, like most artists this time of year, I have dozens of applications pending. I’m being quite selective with art fairs this year and have eight excellent shows already booked.
It works like this: I decided to apply for an exhibit or art fair. I select what I think are my best three or four images and send them off, either on slides or digital images. 500 – 2,000 other artists are doing the same thing. For the same show. That has only 100 or so spaces available. There are thousands of us competing for a few dozen spots. Most of us are pretty good. My competition is a little steeper because there are more photographers than other 2D artists. Sometimes there are 50 photography applications for every available spot in an art show. There are hard choices to be made.
Outstanding artists are rejected. Bad ones too. Can’t tell the difference from the letter, though!
Honestly, I don’t get rejections every day, but I got three in a row last week. That pinched. Lots of times I get acceptances.
For three years I’ve been hearing from patrons and other artists that I should be in the Belleville art fair in May — Art on the Square. Well, sure I should! So should every other good artist. We all think we should be in the best shows.
Almost since the day it opened six years ago, it has been consistently ranked the best in the country. No kidding. Everybody wants in this show. Lots of people get dinged. From all over the country, the best artists come to display and sell.
Every year I apply and wait for the rejection, all the while hoping that this will be the year.
Oh my gosh! This IS the year! I was so thrilled to get into Belleville. I am psyched! I read the letter three times. Brilliant art connoisseurs, those Belleville jurors!
So…. if I can get into Belleville, maybe I can get into Prairie Village outside of Kansas City.
I still had hopes for Clayton — one of the best in the country. I gripped the Belleville acceptance letter like a talisman.
Well surely I can get into Art and Air in Webster Groves. I did that show the first three years. The Belleville letter had been filed away by this time.
Acceptance is fleeting and rejection lingers. How much character do I need?
A little more, apparently. The life of an artist is about tenacity, inner vision, confidence and the support of friends and family.
Oh wait. That’s everybody’s life!