How do we tell the difference?
I use a time-honored technique. I ask my husband, of course, and my daughter. They love everything. Even if they don’t, they tell me they do. My ego gets stroked.
Sadly, that’s where lots of artists stop. Amateur artists, even professionals, don’t ask for real critiques. Maybe they don’t want to know. Maybe they know and don’t want to face it. Maybe they don’t want to do the work to get better.
Maybe they are just afraid.
Submitting work to be judged against the work of others is a frightening prospect. The fear of rejection is a poison dart to creativity.
And the fear of rejection can be boiled down to one simple component: you don’t like me! That’s what we do to ourselves. Our work reflects ourselves. If you don’t like my work, you must not like me. I’m worthless. I’m stupid. I’m bad.
Oh good grief! No wonder therapists have such full schedules.
SNAP OUT OF IT! It’s not personal.
It’s the work, not the person, that is liked or not. And art is subjective. The same work can receive multiple rejections and acceptances in the course of a year or two.
And when you think about it, it’s not the rejection that’s so difficult, but the fear of it. The thought that we MIGHT fail that stops us from submitting work to a juried exhibition or seeking out a new gallery.
What’s the cure? It’s simple. Just do it. Gather your best work, write the check and submit to a juried show. Do it again. And again. And again.
Talent, vision, execution — these are all vital parts of being an artist. But they are worthless if you don’t exhibit your work. And, unless you own your own gallery, you cannot exhibit your work without submitting it to the judgment of others. Art isn’t a pretty picture — it’s communication. It has to been seen. It has to be discussed. It has to be examined.
Will you get rejected? I can almost guarantee it.
Will you get accepted? If it’s good enough, yes.
Will you learn from the experience? If you’re brave enough, you will.