failure and success
This week's Illustration Friday theme, fail, actually caused me to think (!) about the nature of failure and its flip side, success. Just yesterday I received a fatal 'declined' from a juried show submission and though you'd think it would just roll off me by now (especially since I was asked to jury this show ~ how ironic is that?), I still feel like a capital L loser whenever this happens ... though I'll confess that my first reaction is always, "What's wrong with them?" not "What's wrong with me?" :) I do well enough to have to use an accountant to sort out my taxes -- all income from my art -- so what am I fretting about? I'm at the stage now that I wish I'd saved all my 'declined' slips, like the novelist who papers the walls of his garret with rejection letters, as a kind of celebration of my efforts.
See, I realize now that it really is about efforts and that many of my failures are not necessarily all about me. I had a friend who finally screwed up the courage to submit a fabric piece to a juried show of textile arts. When she was refused she found it so devastating that she decided to never enter another, and retired quietly to work in the $100,000 studio she had built in her backyard. Maybe I just have a bigger ego (OK, there's no question that I have a bigger ego), but giving up seems like a bigger failure to me. (Ask me again when I find myself behind the counter at Timmy's, not having touched a paintbrush in months.) However, I was lucky that the first piece I ever submitted to an important juried show, way back in 2002, was accepted (see right). And before anyone lectures me about success being independent of prestige and commerce, save it for the pulpit. That's a whole other blog post.