Love and Rejection

An artists view of themselves sometimes tends to rise and fall on the amount of praise or rejection that they get from other people. I've been through my own share of rejection and the pain that comes with it. I have told my husband on more than one occasion that I was going to quit being an artist because I was rejected from a certain show or overheard a stinging remark somewhere about my work.

I've been represented by several galleries but I used to be terrified to approach them for fear that they would not consider my work worthy to hang on their walls. I was cleaning out some files the other day and I came across a number of letters that I had saved from gallery owners in New York and Philadelphia who had rejected my early work. I don't know why I saved them, but I had a whole file called "Correspondence". At the time that I received the letters, I interpreted them as a personal affront, because by rejecting my work, they were rejecting me and all I could see written there was "no".

But I'm glad I saved them, because in reading over them again, I realized that even though they were not able to accept me into their gallery, many of them had taken the time to hand write me a brief note of encouragement, which was a very kind thing for busy people to do and it showed that they cared about artists and knew how we were built.

I've learned since then that if a gallery rejects my work it is not something for me to take personally. More often than not my work is just not a fit for what they already represent in their gallery. It's a business thing.  Belonging to the right gallery is very important.

I know that in reality I have had more praise for my work than rejection but at times the negatives will still ring in my ears and rock my confidence. I have to shove those words away and think of all the wonderful people who appreciate what I do and who spend their hard-earned money to own what I make.

I am truly humbled that there are such people, because without them,  I could not continue to create.

 Several years ago I was a member of a group called the Artist Conference Network which is a coaching community for artists that was one of the best investments I've ever made in myself. I went into it as a very insecure and self deprecating artist who probably would have never taken many of the chances that I have over the years and come out a believer in myself as a creative force in the world.

I think the key for every artist to remember is that every human being is unique and that as a creative person, you bring something very special to the world. Try not to let your perception of the value of what you do rise and fall with the tide of someone else's opinions. There will never be another you in all time to create  the special vision that is all your own.

Thank you to all the lovers and supporters of my work. I cherish you for making it possible for me to do what I do.

Karen O'Lone-Hahn3 Comments