Dealing with rejection

Every artist who struggles with rejection should read Joanne Mattera's post on Rejection. She starts off:

There’s no easy way to deal with it except to experience it, get over it and move on. Rejection is never pleasant, but until you get over it, you can never move on. Fortunately, you do develop a callus over the soft spot.
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7 comments to Dealing with rejection

  • thankyou for linking to that post! I’ve bookmarked it to keep referring to whenever my fear gets too much for me!

  • Thanks for the Joanne Mattera link, with her post on rejection. As it happens, I had just done a post on my blog on the theme of rejection. In my case, I was rejected 3 years in a row nearly 15 years ago by the @Central Gallery, a well respected space located in the Burton Barr Central Library in Phoenix. Of course, I experienced other rejections, as well as some successes. I’ve always admired the exhibits in the @Central Gallery. The artwork shown has always been first rate (in my opinion). Finally, last December, a mere 15 years later, I worked up the courage to submit a proposal, yet again. In case you are wondering, my life got somewhat sidetracked for 12 years, teaching art and although I continued to produce work, I more or less dropped out of the public art scene. Now that I’m back to making art full time, I’m taking a big breath and launching myself back into the the world of possibilities. Anyway, last week I got a call from the gallery coordinator. Yes! She’s asked if I would consider a solo show. Yes, again! The moral to the story is Try, try again, and keep trying even beyond that.

  • Rejection is something I have always been uncomfortable with and afraid of. Many years ago I was in sales, and a friend of mine who was an excellent example of what a good salesman should be used to give me the advice that if a situation frightened me, (such as facing rejection when trying to present an idea) I should put myself in the position to experience that situation as often as I can until I get over it. It sounds like self-flagellation, masochism on a large emotional level. But his advice worked for me. I tried the practice and found myself a master of my used-to-be-fears. These days when I experience a fear, be it rejection or anything else, I throw myself into the fray knowing that I can overcome it.

  • Barbara: The corollary moral is that No doesn’t mean No forever. Dawn: Some people say that if it doesn’t cause a little anxiety, it’s probably not worth doing. “Feel the fear and do it anyway.”

  • Alyson: Have you ever done anything on deciding what shows to enter? Which might best further the artist’s goals? Is it worth entering local shows? Best sources to find out about exhibitions? I’ve read some on the above, but it seems like it might be an area to explore. Also, why enter shows at all and is there a point in a career where it is no longer necessary? Dawn: You are right! Although it’s sure tempting to just hide out in my studio, thus the value of the Alyson’s newsletter and book!

  • Hani

    This helped a little… My artwork got rejected today (from a competition… And one of the people judging was someone I really, really, really admire… and I feel like crap right now… I feel worthless and useless… Worst of all, I don’t even feel like painting anymore… I know I shouldn’t let this rejection get in my way… but the fact that a person I admire the most maybe thinks that this certain piece is mediocre… or less than mediocre… my piece wasn’t even included in the finalists… AND there were only a handful of entries… ugh, I feel worthless…

  • Hani: I’m sure you do feel that way. And you will for awhile. But then you’ll gather your strength and paint better than ever. Sending you good thoughts.