|Clapboards & Lilies, 28" by 16"|
Okay, so I'm a being a bit dramatic, but rejection stings a bit even by the best of us. It just plays to all the doubts in your head that your art really isn't good enough and the jury really didn't want to let you play with them anyways.
But really, what hurts more. . . .being rejected by the juror. . . or. . . proving the Rejection Committee in your head they're right? This week our lesson in Jane Dunnewold's Artist Strength Training Class is about dealing with the self fears that all artists have that our work isn't really good enough. Where do they originate? How do we dismantle them? How can we rise above?
Logically, I've never really had a problem with Jury Rejections. I mean, if they can't see that my work would benefit their art show, well obviously, its their lost. My Rejection Committee consists of one essential person - Myself. I'm consistently telling myself that I'm not good enough - that I will never be as good as <Insert Famous Quilter's Name Here> - that obviously I'm just fooling myself that I'm getting better.
Now normally, I'm not an insecure person. To tell you the truth, I don't think its really insecurity that is fueling these fears. Its more like the over achiever in me. That's the part of myself that just wants to strive to be better and better and better.. . . well. . . until better isn't ever good enough. And really with art, what is good enough? How do you measure - Good Art? Since the measure of good art is so damn elusive, that's what my Rejection Committee has chosen to pray on. I mean, obviously, they are the only ones that know "Good Art", right?? To them, I'm just a plebeian playing with fabric and thread.
shut up. So how do I fire them? For me, its by stop playing the comparison game. I need to stop worrying if my work is going to measure up to my peers. I need to clearly define why I make art. Do I make it for the validation of artists I truly admire? Or do I make art to declare the mental expressions that run through my head on a daily basis.
So on that note, I humbly submit this:
Dear Rejection Committee,
I regret to inform you that at this time, I can not accept your rejection of my work. I am thrilled that you have been able to submit so many wonderful rejections, but unfortunately, I have found that, as of now, they no longer fit in with the personal view of my work. I would encourage you to submit future rejections, but honestly, I don't want to foster any hope that they will ever again be accepted.
My best advice to you is that you find a new endeavor to expend your energies on.
Linking to Muv's...Lizzy Leonard's Vintage Sewing free motion giveaway.
So What have been up to Creatively?
In 2002 age 43 I wrote my first "art statement". Although I've officially retired it, there isn't a day when "enough" isn't something I'm still chasing. Moments of fear, doubt, and pathetic comparisons ending in self-worthlessness still haunt me. I sympathize with your rejection.
Original artist statement: I’ve spent most of my life living in fear of my own inadequacies, chasing an elusive definition of “enough”. Am I good enough as a wife, a mother, a daughter, a friend, an employer, a businesswoman, a citizen? Have I done enough work, given enough service, pleased enough people? Have I acquired enough respect or money or knowledge? Do I have enough faith? During the first half of my life I tried to find these answers in how my daily actions were evaluated by others. For the next half, I’m looking inward, exploring myself. With thread and through stitches, I search now for personal and spiritual truths, generally finding that “enough” is always with me so long as I keep chasing it.
PS I have a Teddy Roosevelt quotation taped to the window behind my mat cutter. It reads (paraphrased from memory since I'm currently at the Rensing Center art residency and not anywhere near my mat cutter): If you kicked in the butt the person most responsible for all your problems, you wouldn't sit down for a week!
Great post Nina-Marie. You really nailed what the real fear is and I think that "comparison" is among the most deadly and creativity busting emotions. I find myself wallowing in comparison also and I kick myself out of that hole when I realize I'm there. I love your note to the Rejection Committee!
Thank you for sharing your fears and insecurities. I'll bet every one of us feels the same. We put our heart and soul into our work and when it's rejected it hits us in the gut. The problem with being jury end is not all work appeals to all people and it does depend on the jurors sometimes. I love your response and also the first commenter. Love that Roosevelt quote :-)
You win some you lose some but the most important thing is you play the game
I howled with laughter over your letter to the rejection committee. What a great sense of humor you have. You really captured that internal dialogue so many of us face.
I have felt this same way. Overcoming the doubts and fears is a constant process! Thanks for sharing. You are very brave.
Sorry about your rejection... but loved your post!
Your sense of humor and self knowledge handled the rejection over what is not in your control very well. Turned it on its head and pointed it to the door! it seems to be a matter of getting a grip on our self doubts and just doing the work. our work. Enough is an interesting word to me as it can also hold a nugget of wisdom. At some times when someone asks,"how are you?" i might reply "i am good, good enough!" on some days that is a page turner for me in my attitude towards myself. i will leave it to Oscar Wilde for the final word...
"Be yourself, everyone else is already taken!" now that's a WOW!
Keep your sense of humor and your drive to create and you will always have enough!
You have a great attitude. We all feel your pain, but you are so right to move on.
I want to thank you for all the thoughtful comments - I'm truly glad that this has hit the right note with everyone. I wanted to add something. I really wasn't too broken up about not getting into the show - once I read the letter - 15 minutes (okay let's say an hour LOL!) I was over it. The rule in the house is that if you don't want your work rejected - than don't put it up to be judge. And that works for me.
What's more crippling when I reject my own work . That's MUCH harder to over come. So the Rejection Committee of 1 (myself) needed to be fired.
(ohhh and I know darn well that the lily piece will sell and this way I don't have to pay the gallery's commision either - grin)
Nina, I loved your letter to your 'rejection committee'! I agree that it's disappointing when a piece is rejected (although I always feel better if the letter says they received many entries, but only had room for a few). Just because it's been rejected for one show, doesn't mean it wouldn't be accepted in another. Enter it another show or, as you say, sell it without having to pay a commission - it's all good. (And it is a beautiful piece!)
A great letter to your rejection committee.
Thanks for your honest, hit the nail on the head assessment! I have been singing the same tune recently. Thanks for the encouragement to reject my rejection committee of one. Dena
Oh I love your letter to the rejection committee - what a way to put fear back in its place! And that's a beautiful quilt :)
Hello Nina Marie,
I love your gorgeous lilies. If the committee didn't like them that's their loss. You used exactly the right shade of orange, they couldn't be anything but lilies.
Thank you for linking up with Free Motion Mavericks!
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