If you are one of my close friends, you know that I am very competition with myself and my art. I am a painter. So when someone doesn’t ‘get’ my work, I can at times get frustrated. Not so much as I used to. The first rejection I ever got was from a student show. It had me so mad I couldn’t see straight. I was livid, but looking back on it now, it was hilarious to expect them to accept a ‘wet’ painting than I just finished, because I had procrastinated until the last two days. It was my first oil painting so that goes without saying, I had no idea what I was doing. It was a healthy thing to experience and to learn a little humility. After all, my family and friends had been telling me for years I was “GREAT!”. So why couldn’t the jury see it? The cold hard fact was that I was NOT VERY GOOD. We need to grow on encouragement from our friends and loved ones. My recent rejection was to an exhibition of work known for being so far away from what I do that if I did get accepted it would have been an anomaly all on it’s own. Like Han Solo said, “Never tell me the odds!”. Don’t let the odds keep you from entering your work if you want to. That word “want” is important. Submit if you think you want your work in an event. This was a local museum and I really loved one of their most popular recent exhibitions, so I thought, “Fuck it, let’s enter.”. I had no reservations that I would be an outlier if chosen, so when I didn’t get in, I laughed at myself. Rejection is good for growth. It is necessary, so relish it, laugh at it, and drown your frustrations with your favorite beverage. However, ask yourself, was it your best work? If it is at this current time, shake it off and move on. If deep in your heart you know it wasn’t, then begin to ask yourself what you need to do to get your art to that level. Easy said than done, but if you can honestly look inward to see your own deficits as a painter, then the journey to becoming a better painter is a little clearer. Competition is healthy, even in art. It helps push you beyond your comfort zone and boundaries. I know it has helped me grow as a painter tremendously, but I have to laugh off rejection and so should you. It’s ok to be a sore loser at times. Get mad, get upset. Yell and scream. Give the art establishment a big “FUCK YOU!”. Shake it out of your system and move on to becoming a better painter. Because you can’t make great work from loathing and regret. It’s toxic and it will eat at your soul.

The art world is notorious for its cliques. Find your own group of eccentric artists and create your own clique. Gauguin and Van Gogh did. Okay, it didn’t really end well for them, but you get the point. Photo: SNL Chris Farley as “Matt Foley”, motivational speaker. He lives in a van down by the river.

The art world is notorious for its cliques. Find your own group of eccentric artists and create your own clique. Gauguin and Van Gogh did. Okay, it didn’t really end well for them, but you get the point. Photo: SNL Chris Farley as “Matt Foley”, motivational speaker. He lives in a van down by the river.

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