falling on deaf ears, pen and ink, 11 x 14"
Let's face it. It's happened to the best of us and most likely to all of us. "no, not now, it isn't a good fit, maybe next time, keep trying, wrong size, wrong color, what is it anyway?" The oh so familiar words of rejection!
Do we ever get used to this? What will it take?
I think that it takes acceptance that it will happen. When you accept that it will happen, you get used to it. When you get used to it, you are able to continue to put yourself forward. When you see rejection as something extraordinary or exceptional, than you shy away from moving forward with your work, your life, your art career. You can avoid rejection, but in doing so, you also avoid approval, acceptance and acknowledgment.
So, where do you stand? In the safe zone avoiding rejection or in the risk zone moving yourself forward in your art career? For me, I am re-entering the art world after a long (15 year) break! During my break, I had many career accomplishments and successes. I could put a value on success and that value was associated with a dollar amount and a position. As an artist, it is more complicated to put a value or definition of success - how much do you earn? what is your work worth? when do you call yourself a "professional" artist? does a "professional" title come with a dollar amount? what does it mean to be a successful artist? any ideas?
During this re-entry period I have vacillated in the safe zone for a long time, ironically trying to figure out what it felt like to be an "artist" again. For so long I was concerned about what "good" art was, or "important" art. (Maybe my academia was rearing it's head a bit too much)! Now I think that it really doesn't matter. I have come to the conclusion that even "bad" art is "good" art! Everyone has the ability to create and be successful in their creative endeavors. Art contributes to society and personal well being no matter what!
I've also learned that rejection and acceptance are like two sides of the coin - you don't get one without the other. It's a normal part of the process. Persistence - persistence - persistence! Paradoxically, the less you resist, the more you accept, the more you allow yourself to feel the disappointment the more you get used to it (in a good way) and the less painful it will be. That's the resiliency.
Unfortunately though, we take it personally. And if anyone tells you that you shouldn't take it personally, they don't know what it means to be an artist who makes stuff. Most artists put their heart and soul into their work, so of course it feels personal. In fact, if it hurts, than that's a good thing - it means you care, because simply put, once you stop caring, you ... just stop.
So, as I re-enter into the world of art and I call myself an artist again, I will give myself my own pep talk. Get used to rejection - get used to rejection by just showing up and accepting the risks. It's nothing I'm not already familiar with. I will accept that I might take it personally and that's okay, because I care, and I don't ever want to stop doing that!