Saturday, 19 June 2010


So, the headline news today is - Swanee and Polo were not selected for inclusion in the Open Art Exhibition.

I wish I could even articulate what is going round in my brain right now. Yes, I'm upset, but I'm also annoyed, and yet I know I shouldn't be either.

The standard for the paintings and drawings was exceptionally high. If the standard was equally as high for the sculptures I could accept the rejection. It's when you feel that your work at least equals that of another that it's so hard to take. Sometimes it's merely a matter of taste.

The other pieces I saw were very modern. I try not to pass judgement on other styles of art and try to appreciate the creative thought process and effort that has gone in to each piece. But it's difficult to think that way when you know that something that required no artistic skill whatsoever is going to be chosen over your hand coiled animal sculptures.

I know at least one of the artists in this catagory has graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree with Honours. I suppose that's what they teach these days - not so much artistic skill but "creative thinking".

I remember quite a while ago, John Black, the founder of the FPAA, told me that I had natural talent, that I don't need an art degree, and that art college would ruin me. This "creative thinking" is exactly what he meant. John is of the old school, and appreciates traditional art over "thinking outside the box".

Also in the post today came my cheque from the FPAA, for the pieces I sold at the exhibition. It wasn't much, but as Mona says "Sales trump ribbons any day of the week". I'm taking comfort in her words of wisdom from years of experience: "I tend to think you should feel more honored with the idea that someone is willing to part with their hard-earned money in order to have your work in their homes". It's true. I seem incapable of impressing snobby art critics but I'm glad to know that the people who matter most appreciate my work. And honestly, do people really buy those modern installation pieces??

I'm not going to change my style to produce some "new clothes" for the Emperor (although I have had an idea for a joke entry in the next Open Art Exhibition in 2 years time!). I know where I want to go with my art, and I like the direction it's taking. Some people will like it, and some people won't.

I feel much happier now that I have written this post :) I just wish I could go and collect my pieces today instead of having to wait until Thursday. I don't know why they want to hold on to them for so long seeing as they're so hideous to look at!!


cynthia said...

I've been rejected many a time - it's part of the game, though it doesn't make the pill any easier to swallow. It's said that for every 100 entries you may only get into 10-20% of them. Low odds, I know.

Jurying art shows is very subjective, so don't take it personally. Sometimes 1 person may really be advocating for your work, but gets out voted.

As to art school - it just depends on where you go. I had both experiences in the same school where I received my BFA. My ceramic's prof drilled functional out us in favor of emotive non-representational sculpture. Then my painting profs were very different. Ultimately, Linda, listen to yourself, keep making art and don't let the rejection get you down. Consider it you badge of honor - war wound....

Kathy L said...

I love Cynthia's reply to your post Linda...Some good advice there...And yes "Sometimes it is merely a matter of taste." And don't forget politics...there will always be politics associated with juried shows...I know first hand. Rejection makes us stronger and in my case I get whipped into a furry with my art. I think as artists, rejection is always inevitable and we can either grow from it or sink into the depth of anonymity. I know you will rise above it all :)

Undaunted said...

Cynthia and Kathy, thank you both for your lovely comments.

Cynthia, the badge of honour and war wound comment made me smile! I'm determined that no rejection will break me like it did when I was young. Actually, the first thing I wanted to do was rip open a bag of clay! (But I still feel too poorly)

Kathy, I totally agree with you about the politics. I wasn't sure how to fit that into my post without it sounding like sour grapes. All these snobby people seem to know each other and vote for each other. But yes, I will continue to rise above it all :)

Angela Finney said...

Linda, I am sorry that your pieces did not get in. A very reflective post. Yes, I agree, often it is just a matter of the judges' taste. Keep on keep'n on. It is the doing of and reaching some that counts!

Undaunted said...

Thank you Angela :) It's so true - it's the journey that's important.

mona said...

Bummer about the rejection. It happens to everyone though I know that doesn't really help in the moment.

Well you've gotten all the really good help you need from everyone else. So I'll just add what sometimes helps me. Say to yourself "They all can just bite me!" And repeat it over and over until you start giggling hysterically. :)

Note: Feel free to substitute "Kiss my A**" or whatever your favorite is at the moment.

Undaunted said...

Hehehe, the expression in our family is "Suck eggs!" !!

Thanks Mona. I collect my pieces today :)