The world ain't all sunshine and rainbows.
It's a very mean and nasty place and I don't care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it.
You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain't about how hard ya hit. It's about how hard you can get it and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That's how winning is done!
Now if you know what you're worth then go out and get what you're worth. But ya gotta be willing to take the hits, and not pointing fingers saying you ain't where you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody! Cowards do that and that ain't you! You're better than that!"
"Rocky Balboa" 2006
Did you know that they say that only 13% of the Fine Art Graduates in Sweden will be working as artists 10 years after graduating? (and I don't think this goes just for Sweden) And then there are all those who just studied art at lower levels but also strived to become artists...
Being talented isn't enough.
Being lucky doesn't happen to many people.
No - to really be able to make it as an artists, you should know - or learn - how to handle rejections, failures and disappointments. You shouldn't just endure. You should considered it lessons learned and move on - not collect the disappointments and maltreatment. I know of many artists getting bitter and loosing the glimpse in their eye because they think they have suffered so much, that they have fought so hard.
So what are my recent Rejections and Disappointments?
[Yes, I know you shouldn't let people know about your failures. But I have this rebellious trait: I will do it anyway!]
Not Any Progress Report
- rejections (since September): 5 exhibitions, 4 scholarships, 1 membership
-The tenant Owner's Association's board postponed their decision on the enamel commission until mid April. This isn't good - they might be having second thoughts. But even if they aren't - this means I can not make the enamles until June (because of the delivering times for some of the materials I will need and because 2 weeks working on a row at KKV isn't possible time wise in May). I will therefore at the very best get that income after summer vacations (not before as I had counted on) - worst case scenario: nada!
-Had to cancel one of my Screen printing workshops. Not enough people could take my workshop at the planned weekend. I have some people who are interested, but it is hard to find a weekend that works for enough people. I haven't given this one up. (I need the money if I don't get the enamel commission!) But in some way cancelling the workshops was good - I would have totally overworked in March if the workshop had taken place...
- A possible gigantic Public Commission for a Municiple lead to nothing. Before Christmas I went to a meeting with three project leaders for a new School project (3 schools) in a municipal close to Gothenburg. I got very excited, but in a way also disappointed - when I learned that the project would mean commissioned art for around 200 000 Euros (1 % of the construction and renovation costs). (if it had been a smaller commission it would have been much more likely for me to get it) They were interested in me leading the project as an artist and involving other artists. This was of course very flattering. But on the other hand I doubted the Municipal's Cultural department would allow it to be handled like that (a concern I also expressed to them, but they said the cultural department normally didn't care) - normally an experienced art consultant will do that job.
Anyway they asked if I wanted to write a short text with ideas about what kind of art would be possible related to the new schools profiles and preferably interactive and involving the children... Something they could use to sell me in for the project. Nothing fancy, just some ideas - absolutely no sketches. And they couldn't promise me anything. "Don't put too much time on it..."
Normally I shouldn't accept doing this kind of things without a fee, but it was a too great opportunity to miss out on. And of course I put some time on it (Let's say I was only present physically at family gatherings during Christmas...).
Of course the cultural department wanted to involve the State Art Council into the project as it would mean that they put extra money into the project - which would go to their chosen project leader and Art Consultant. And I didn't even get a polite formal "thanks for your great job. We will keep you in mind for another project".
Honestly I haven't given this disappointment much thought since I got that mail in February. (But of course I was really pissed off that week). To repeat Rocky's words:
"Now if you know what you're worth then go out and get what you're worth. But ya gotta be willing to take the hits, and not pointing fingers saying you ain't where you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody! Cowards do that and that ain't you! You're better than that!"
In my Next Sunday post I will share my strategies for handling these kind of disappointments: the outer body experience/the Edith Piaf/my voodoo way/ostrich.