Thursday, May 18, 2006
Well Now I Have a Bug Up My Butt
Malaysian Fly, 2004, Oil on Panel, 4x4 (I had a brief obsession with painting bugs a few years ago)
Not literally of course. But I just received another rejection letter from the national juried show at our local arts organization and now I am annoyed. I will have to keep entering juried shows now until I at least get into one, somewhere. I have a prospectus for a small works show in a nearby town and I'll go through artlist.com for more options. This constant rejection has really gotten my competitive streak going and even though I don't have time or extra work to enter, I will feel like a LOSER if I stop trying.
Speaking of being a loser, I thought I'd do a quick recap of how many times my fab presentation and slide entries have been rejected.
I have entered 17 Juried Shows in the last two and a half years, according to my records. About half were national shows like the Cambridge Art Association National Prize Show and the Artists Magazine competition, which rejected me, and then the rest were regional or local, with which I had better luck, even winning prizes in a few of them.
Juried Shows: No: 10 Yes:7 (I won 3 awards)
Arts Organizations often have a call for artist submissions. A selection committee then goes through the applicants and schedules group and/or solo shows for the coming year. I entered four of these, one of which was local and that was pretty casual, the director visited my studio and had seen my work in the other gallery in town. I sent my presentation package to the other three and was accepted by two and rejected by the other.
Arts Organizations: No: 1 Yes: 3
After searching the internet, art magazines and combing through artist's resumes, I came up with a list of galleries that I thought might be receptive to my work. I sent my info packet to three galleries in Boston, one in New York City and one in Philadelphia. I also sent my link to two other galleries in Philadelphia. I received rejection letters from all of those galleries. Reading the letters is always interesting. A few of them were actually encouraging but most were pretty "brief". My favorite was the one (in NYC) who sent back the info with a scribbled note, onto my typed cover letter that said" Thanks, but the work is not for me-Thank you anyway." Meanwhile, almost everyone who has ever suggested a NYC gallery to me has referred me to this particular gallery. Hmm. Another letter, from a Boston gallery, was complimentary and I could tell by the comments that they had actually looked at the work. It said "I find your pieces to be profoundly compelling. I am intrigued by your evocative colors and simple yet dynamic compositions. Unfortunately, we do not feel we can make a commitment to you at this time as we do not have a place in the gallery for this genre of paintings." So that started out well, but then, you know, took a turn.
I then focused on smaller galleries in smaller cities and had better luck there. I sent my package out to eight galleries and received a positive response from five. One of those gave me a solo show, and the rest offered me representation. One of the no responses eventually turned into a yes and about two or three galleries didn't respond or send back my info.
Galleries: No: 10 Yes: 5 No Response: 3
I don't recall being too upset by the rejections. I think the acceptances were sprinkled into the mix just enough so that I didn't really feel too discouraged. I also sold work pretty consistently from the beginning and that was also encouraging. Having said that though, I am pretty happy to not be sending out info anymore. Almost every time I am involved in an exhibition or event, another opportunity presents itself so I haven't had to pursue things too much lately. I am pretty realistic about rejection. Sometimes it is about my work I know, but it can also be about other things too, and either way I am ok with all of that. I'd be painting anyway, though maybe not quite so much.
It was interesting to tally all of this up, I hadn't really done it before. The competition numbers were better that I had thought and the gallery numbers were worse than I had remembered.