Saturday, February 6, 2010

137 times...

I read an article today in ART Calendar about an illustrator who submitted his book illustrations 137 times...think about that...137 times...I think after 3 or 4 rejections I would of given up. I am in awe of this person...137 times this person was rejected and yet he kept at it. His book was published this year.

There are a ton of lessons in this for me. Recently I have been evaluating my long term art goals- kind of "What do I want to do when I grow up" questions about my art, my art career, my art business- where do I want to go with my art?

Do I want to go gung-ho and really take it places? Do I want to continue with my small business? More fine art, more craft? I have no idea. I know that I am currently not satisfied. I am looking for something more in my art...but I am clueless as to what that something more might be. More painting? More education? More sales? More of what?

All I know is that after reading that this man submitted his work 137 times I felt better. I realized that it is hard work to move ahead in the art world. I often read about the artist wonders who fly up fast and it leaves me feeling less than...or too old, or too lazy or too self sabotaging. The inner critic kicks in big time and the internal dialogue is not pretty.

Reading this helps me to understand that submitting 137 times before one gets published is far more the norm then the fast-rising artists who make it sound so easy. Perhaps it is easy for them. They are the lucky ones. The rest of us- we wonder, have self doubt, question everything and yet those moments of success or the occasional sale keeps us going.

I know that I am very hard on myself. I also tend to focus on what I have not done as opposed to what I have done. I also read that today- to focus on what I have done...what a great idea! When I look at that, I can see progress...growth...the love returns to the artist, not the self doubting. I've posted this picture before on my blog. I posted it now to remind myself that I have had wonderful successes with my art and my art career. One huge affirmation was when Nick Bantock picked my work to be on the cover of a DVD magazine. I was astounded when I heard the much so that a part of me shut off from it...I made this collage ALLOW IT IN. It's been a pattern of mine to distance myself from the positive regarding my art- it's an area I constantly have to work at.

So...the questions I willing to submit art 137 times? Yes.


linda said...

Wow, I didn't know of that story, but it sure does speak to perseverance. I think the stories of artists who fly to the top skip the part about the rejections. There's always something in the past the artist had done to get there...I also feel sometimes like I'm too late, there are 16 year olds famous already with their work it seems... but it's never too late. If you really want something, you have to go for it!

Emjay said...

I understand self doubt, cluenessness and having all those questions.

If nothing else, I can offer you encouragement. Your art is unique and beautiful.

Kelly said...

We had an author visit school this week. He shared a book with us he had done for money. As he told the story, he said "I am a professional writer. People hire me to write, knowing I'll do a good job, for a fair price and be on time." When asked about his workday, he shared it's a regular 9-5 day except he is in his basement office writing, not in an office.

I don't know why your post put this in mind but it did. I see you as a professional artist, not a hobbyist or craft person. Do you? I think it is a perspective issue. And you are right, we can be plagued by so many things that keep us from seeing our success and growth. What if you start to perceive your time in your studio as going to "work" instead of play time? Actually start to see your efforts as a job (in a good way), with a schedule and goals, and deadlines and stuff...

Elizabeth Parsons said...

you hit the nail on the head Kelly!