For the longest time of my life, I tried to figure out what my niche was as an artist. When I finally found my artistic voice, I began to find clarity in my path professionally. I have many friends who are working artists and they all seem to take a different approach to how their work is presented and eventually sold. There’s the craft fair artists and the gift shop artists. I felt neither of these suited me. You have to do a lot of production work being that kind of artist and I hate doing production work.
My comfort level comes from making a single piece and getting it out there. I prefer having my work in galleries or exhibits. Both have their challenges, but exhibits can be very interesting. You have to be willing to accept the rejection and not turn it on yourself.
When a group looks for work for an exhibit, they first put out a call-for-entries. As an artist, you have to read the rules (prospectus) and determine if the work you have fits the guidelines. If it does, you fill out the entry form, submit your work and wait.
For over a month, I’ve been waiting to get a response from 2 calls-for-entries that I submitted work. This week I heard from both. One wanted my quilts and the other did not.
I think its easy, especially when you first start doing this, to feel defensive and possibly hurt that your work wasn’t accepted. The thing to remember is that the curator’s decision isn’t a reflection of you as a person. They most likely don’t know you. The likely scenario is that they had a specific vision they wanted to meet with the show and your work either fit that vision or it didn’t. There may also be limited space and a lot of entries for the exhibit. In this scenario, your work may be well deserving of being shown…but unfortunately someone else’s work may just have a slight edge over your’s. So they’re in and you’re not. Unless the curators/jurors tell you, you just don’t know. And, most exhibits don’t tell you why they didn’t choose your work.
So I’ve learned, to accept the verdict and not take it personally. I will try again. And as in this past week, I’m validated that my work is worthy of hanging in a show. It just wasn’t fit for the other show. Its all good. They’ll be others. I always remind myself that the best validation is selling my work and I continue to do that. So all is good.
“Hunter’s Moon” and “Summer Sunshine” will be on display at the SAQA Regional Exhibit “Living with Art: real art for real people” March – June 2014 at Washington Technology Park, 15000 Conference Center Drive, Chantilly, VA