Ups and downs are quite frequent in the life of an emerging artist. I recently submitted three new works for the Skylands Juried Show in Newton, sponsored by the Sussex County Arts & Heritage Council. It's a very well-known show with quite a tradition and in the past couple of years, the bar of the show has been raised. Last year, I had three works selected for inclusion and won two awards: Best New Artist, and the Tranquility Gallery & Frameworks Award.
I never go into a show thinking that I will get accepted or win anything. It's much too unpredictable and so subjective. To enter a juried show, you send in images of the work you're submitting either via digital CD or slide, depending on the criteria of the show. Your work is viewed on a screen for a brief amount of time, and the judges make their opinion. There were three judges for Skylands. So, their opinions are combined to make a decision.
I got home from Italy to find a letter notifying me that my work was not selected. Of course, the natural immediate reaction was disappointment. However, I quickly pushed those feelings aside and looked at the situation more rationally. You never know what the jurors are looking for and how they came to their decision. And, just because three artists combined didn't select your work, doesn't mean you're a bad artist. It just means that your work didn't fit in their vision of what the show should look like.
Now, I'm not trying to say that if you constantly get rejected from shows you're still a good artist. That may not be the case. But, if for every few shows I get into or sell my work, there are a few I don't then I'm not going to lose sleep over it. If an artist is to be successful, you have to just move on and continue to make the work and exhibit it. I learned this early on when I applied to Governor's School for the Arts in PA when I was in high school. It's a summer-long program for talented artists to participate in advancing their technique and abilities. If accepted, the program is free. It's quite an honor and I knew many people who applied. So of course I wasn't accepted and it was a hard lesson to learn so young. But experiencing this at 16 made me realize that it didn't mean I couldn't be an artist or a successful artist.
So, I didn't get into Skylands, but I'm forging ahead to develop new relationships with collectors and dealers and find new venues for my work. Keep posted for future successes!