Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Submitting to Art Shows, Not Submitting to Fear

Monkey is especially proud of that headline. So on Sunday, Monkey + Seal prepped their artwork and submitted it to the Academy of Art's Spring Show under the Illustration and Animation schools. Monkey is actually going to finish submitting today (since the Fine Art department's submission process has a later due date), but we wanted to talk a bit about submitting to shows.

The thing that we never could understand is why more people don't submit to the Spring Show. It's free (so it doesn't cost much, just the cost of the mounting materials), so why not? We know that it is really competitive, but regardless of how low your chances are, your chances can't be lower than zero, which is what your chances are if you never turn anything in.

This year, Monkey + Seal have faced some rejection - we didn't get into Renegade Craft Fair, nor were any of our pieces juried into Spectrum 17. But we realize that rejection is part of being an artist (and of life in general). Unfortunately, most people in life don't get everything they try for, but if you never try for anything, you won't get anything at all.

You cannot submit to the fear of rejection. You have to go into each competition with your eye on the gold - aim for the sun and hit the highest peak sort of thinking, you know? Monkey, who has never been selected for the Spring Show always says "Let someone else tell you that you're not good enough." If you can't bring yourself to believe in your work, then why should anyone else? Like we have said in past blog posts - it is all about finding your audience. Sure, you shouldn't submit a painting of a dragon to a landscape competition (or a landscape to a dragon competition) but you have to just power through your fear of rejection and keep moving forward, keep submitting, and keep getting your work out there.

Additionally, Monkey + Seal prefer not to dwell on the negative - sure we didn't get into Renegade or Spectrum, but there's always next year, we already had one successful gallery show this year, and now we're doing a gallery show in collaboration with Hyphen magazine, we just released our first e-book, Monkey is pushing himself to create and post a piece of art every day, and Seal has a freelance project for an upcoming animation studio. We're also helping to organize the SF Zine Fest and have applied to the Alternative Press Expo.

All in all, it isn't about comparing the good to the bad and weighing out your year - it's about choosing to focus on the positives, the accomplishments and accolades, and learning from all the missteps and failings. Finding this balance is definitely not easy (as we both can attest to), but it is what we strive for, and what keeps us going at all hours of the night. No fear, dear artists, no fear!


karin said...

thanks for the (always) inspirational posts!

Ri.S.K. said...

Thanks for reading!