You may recall previously I have written a post as to why I enter art shows. You can read about it here
A few months ago I entered an art show which had a theme and some criteria. I had agonised over whether to enter the competition as it was out of my genre and not the usual type of show I would enter, I decided in the end to enter it as it would stretch me to think about the theme and my artwork.
I never gave it much thought after I hit the send button, in fact if I be upfront, I had forgotten about the entry, that is until I opened an email from the organisers on the weekend.
As I opened the email and scanned for the words "accepted" I quickly saw "unsuccessful". Normally I would think, well, that is the decision and at least I gave it a go. I continued to scroll down the page, and I came to a list of why my artwork wasn't accepted, to say the least it was brutal. I read, reread, and read it repeatedly letting the words sink in.
For the entire weekend, the words continued to cross my mind as I digested what was said. After a while, all the self-doubt crept in and I started to question myself, am I a fraud, am I supposed to be an artist, what was I thinking, and imposter syndrome settled into a nice comfortable spot in the front of my mind.
So often we let other people's opinions and points of view take away our joy and our confidence. Joy and confidence vampires lurk in unsuspecting areas of our lives. This was a valuable lesson for me to learn. My art doesn't hurt anyone, it brings me joy and obviously brings others joy as I sell my work.
The lesson really came home to roost when I opened up a social media post and saw the finalists for the exhibition I had entered. My artwork was nothing at all like the finalists work, they weren't looking for my type of artwork, in fact more likely completely opposite. The list of brutal feedback in the email was based on what they were looking for, what they had in mind and was not about my artwork nor me.
The moral of the story for me is continue to do what gives you joy and let others have their opinions, it's none of my business what they think.
Go create in joy.
Lee Cummins is a mixed media artist, workshop and art class facilitator.