I am not an expert on art by any means. I have taken some drawing and art classes but I wouldn't say I’m an expert on the topic. I am still very new at all of this. I have been painting for awhile because it's fun and relaxing and I enjoy doing it. But I just started selling my art last year at art shows and had a great year. A funny thing happens when you sell your first big original painting. That feeling. It becomes everything.
So this year I took a chance and applied to some bigger shows, three in Tennessee and one in Ohio. An art show application consists of a couple of questions about who you are as an artist and then you submit four images of your work and an application fee. Then you wait. Sometimes a couple of months for a response.
The thing is I have no idea who is looking at my art, which is a problem. I have no idea who these jurors are or what they are looking for. If a couple of them are 60 year old ladies who don’t get skeletons and aliens… well I’m screwed. So when you don’t get into a show you basically get a very professional “I hated it” letter. Sometimes you even get a score. I don’t know if I like it better with or without a score.
One of my letters came with a score. It was REALLY low. I tried to pretend this didn’t bother me. I tried to be positive but honestly I was really upset. Whether I like to admit it or not it does suck to hear someone didn’t like my work. In my "it doesn’t bother me" phase I started working on some paintings that I wasn’t excited about. I started just going through the motions and made some things I thought the jurors might like better. Whoever they are.
I was frustrated and angry inside even though I tried not to show it. But that stupid score, ugh. I thought about it constantly and it was there as soon as my head hit the pillow and as soon as I woke up. It consumed me. Art was becoming something I never wanted it to be. It was becoming competitive and clinical. It was becoming something I HAD to do not something I ENJOYED doing.
I thought I had to be better so I created all of these charts, spreadsheets and deadlines. I made lists of things I had to do to get into these art shows. I began researching what kind of art gets into art shows. I started to think if only I painted something these invisible judges liked then I would be good. Then I would be happy. But I wasn’t happy, I was irritated with everything.
Whenever something stressful or bad happens people usually say to try to stay positive or everything will be ok. They are right. But I think it’s equally important to live quietly in that black hole for a moment. Just don’t get stuck in that hole. It will change you and you will learn a lot from it.
I didn’t realize this until I stopped. I stopped doing everything I thought I had to do and I took some time to think. I needed some time to get back to the way it was before I sold anything. I’ve spent a lot of time outside in the woods. I’ve spent a lot of time laying on my art studio futon staring at the ceiling. I spent some time playing with paint, markers and ink. And now it’s time to move on.
I'm Jackie, an artist, illustrator, and friend to ghosts, monsters, and aliens. This blog is full of DIY projects, stories, and things I think are cool. Stay weird.