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What I've Learned: Rejection

May 30, 2012

As an artist I’ve been experiencing quite a bit of rejection lately. Ouch. It hurts doesn’t it? I’ll be honest, I’m not used to it. I’m not sure I’ll ever get used to it. Do you?

I’ve been very lucky in this business of craft. I was rejected from only one show last year, and that was a wait list that I ended up being accepted to later on. I’ve had this false sense of security for quite some time – a false sense of self perfection or  . . . something. But, all that’s been fading this year. And I wonder why . . .

It’s because I’m growing. I’m wanting bigger and better things; things that were once out of my reach (and are still a bit far away) and they’re harder to get to. And that’s ok. It’s really ok.

See, this year I was wait listed for the Talbot St Art Fair in Indianapolis. WAIT LISTED! I was ecstatic when I got the news. I tacked the wait list copy on my ‘inspiration board’ and called it a day. It was one of those ‘it’s an honor to be nominated’ times. Talbot St was something in my dreams, and they wait listed me! But, then I got a big head. That sometimes happens. And when I was wait listed again for the famous 4th St Festival here in my hometown I was somewhat broken-hearted. But honestly, wait listed for 4th St is SIMPLY AMAZING and since then I’ve learned my lesson. I’m humbled to be noticed, to be in the running, to be even remotely considered.

Then, this past week I was rejected again, from the Indiana Artisan program. Since it’s now a show per se, there’s no wait list. You can re-apply (as many times as you’d like) I believe twice a year. A new panel of jurors sits each time, so you just never know what you’re going to get. But I was still so sad. Disappointed in myself.

But I’ll get back up there. I know I will. It won’t keep me down for long, but it will for just a minute or two, because rejection is hard. It’s tough. But it’s part of the process right? Part of growing. Part of becoming an artist.

How do you feel about rejection? Have you been rejected before? What keeps you motivated? How do you keep going? Do you use your rejection as inspiration for your next project?

4 Comments leave one →
  1. May 30, 2012 10:27 pm

    Isn’t rejection just such a struggle? I always tell myself I’ll be ok if {insert hope here} yet it always takes a few days and some self talk to move forward. I really do think it ends up steering me in positive directions and makes me better in the end. It’s still very tough to receive though. Hang in there!

  2. May 30, 2012 10:39 pm

    Just keep that chin up!

    Maybe you’ve already heard, but lots of people have told me it’s a bitch and a half to get accepted to Indiana Artisan. I was rejected once, but never applied again. I wouldn’t take that one too personally, but keep trying if you are determined!

  3. admin permalink*
    May 30, 2012 11:25 pm

    Yeah, I’ve heard such things about IN Artisan, but I kind of am determined..I’m not sure why. I guess it comes down to this basic ‘need to be liked’ which really causes me much pain in my personal life and is now transferring itself into my business life. I guess I should try and nip that one in the bud and leave well enough alone;)

  4. Sarah permalink
    May 31, 2012 12:15 am

    getting too used to getting into things is always a bad idea. i got rejected from art star, my only rejection except for indiana handmade shows. and maybe i wouldn’t have made it in either way but looking back, i totally half assed the application.

    as for being waitlisted to to “art” shows…even being waitlisted seems pretty impressive because, for whatever reason, bookbinding isn’t usually one of those “arts.” and i’m a total dork for bookbinding so i don’t understand. the way i see it divided? indie craft is people who are crafty but also has a business side. the “art” people just have art but hardly any real business sense. 4th street art festival, it may be famous, but 90% of the artists are just dull. because “art” is somehow stuck in a sort of tradition…not too crazy, not too modern. it’s also not affordable for normal people. but if i ever was wanting to buy something, the biggest gap are these people aren’t ready to really sell. they hide in their tents. their booth design is horribly impractical. it’s strictly about the art. so assuming you get in to one of these festivals, you should make a killing compared to the other booths.

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