Art Attack – Rejection and the artist ego
“Even if you are the most luscious, juiciest, perfect peach in the orchard, there is going to be someone who hates peaches.” Anonymous Facebook
Such fragile creatures we are, “we” being artists. “Rejection,” a word you think “we” would be used to. Nope.
The annual Delta Exhibit in Little Rock is considered a prestigious show in which to get accepted. It’s a juried show now in its 56th year, judged by a different but highly qualified person in the art field every year. It’s also a show I’ve been rejected from three years in a row.
Ouch! And it doesn’t help that three very good friends got accepted and garnered honorable mentions for their work last year. Of course, I was genuinely thrilled for John Willer, Zeek Taylor and Cynthia Kresse who “made the cut;” a sports metaphor that still traumatizes this boy-who-throws-like-a-girl. All three deserved the honors, and I did not miss showing support by making the trek to our state capital.
Walking into Delta, I was first struck by the high quality of work, then my artist ego kicked in and the dissing began. “How in the hell did that get accepted? What was that judge thinking? Am I missing something here?” Questions that when really boiled down translate to, “Why did this judge hate me and my artwork?”
Eureka Springs artists were snubbed by this year’s Delta juror, all receiving polite rejection notices in the mail. In response, I thought, how fun it would be to hold a Salon des Delta Refusés Exhibit of artists that were denied entrance to the Arkansas Arts Center here at The Space – a show to soothe our fragile egos.
Rejection comes in many forms, like watching your donated benefit artwork go for less than the price you paid to have it framed (a whole column unto itself).
Art appreciation is subjective, like the praise and criticism I throw out weekly on this page. It’s one person’s opinion, and I remind myself that being chosen for the Delta or any other grant or exhibit is a crapshoot – you win some and lose some. You pick yourself up, continue to create, but still wonder, “Who doesn’t love peaches?’