Rejected, 1988 TasArt Awards.
COVID-19 has resulted in a complete upheaval of our way of life. Currently, isolation is the accepted norm and for how long is anybody’s guess. For some this has provided the opportunity to discover new skills, re-visit practices long-gone from their daily lives, while discovering new opportunities along the way. Long-term social distancing is hard and it’s only going to get harder until a proven vaccine is found and implemented. Boredom has become the number one enemy. For artists and crafts people, this is a perfect opportunity to create all manner of things, that can go a long way to easing the pain of separation, especially from family members. I hope you are coping okay. Things will get tougher before they get better. Stay focussed, keep being creative!
I’ve been dividing my time between gardening and art. Both are going well. My wife and I have a long-term plan for a fruit and vegetable garden at the rear of our block and a native garden at the front. The vegetable garden is almost finished and the construction of our fruit garden will commence within a couple of months. Our native garden will be built early next year. Long-term plans are what’s keeping us focussed and positive.
While in my studio the other day I came across a photo of a painting that I did in 1988. It’s not very good. This fact was confirmed when I entered it in the annual TasArt Awards, one of Tasmania’s major art prizes, based in Burnie on Tasmania’s North West coast. The painting was rejected. I was dejected. Those who have been in that situation will know what I felt like. It’s pretty gut-wrenching to be rejected for any art prize, but this was special, this was my first rejection, but not the last! Failure is never easy to take, but what really matters is how one deals with rejection. You get knocked down, you get back up again; you get knocked down, you get back up again, etc etc. For every art prize one enters, there’s always the possibility of rejection, even if there’s no pre-selection because your work maybe overlooked by the judges and even the viewing public. It’s a minefield out in the real world! If you never ever try, you’ll never ever know what others think of your art, or indeed if your work is worth creating in the first place, Let’s return to my 1988 TasArt entry.
Pre-selection is always a hurdle to overcome when entering such art awards. The good news is that the next time I entered I wasn’t rejected. Yay! I didn’t give up. My perseverance paid off and in the years to come I gained some judges’ commendations and several section prizes. The pinnacle was winning the major prize (then worth $10000) in 2010. This was a moment that I will treasure for ever. I went from ‘Boiled Lollies to Old Gold’ (chocolate). Yes, it took me 22 years to get to the top, but I kept at it.
“Silence at the Table.”
2010 Burnie Art Prize Winner.
Experiencing such ‘failure’ has made me stronger, more determined and confident enough to enter many other art awards over the years and I’ve been well rewarded for my stoicism. It hasn’t been always been all my own way, indeed I’ve had setbacks and even had one of my drawings taken down and removed before it was judged in a major Tasmanian Art Award (the subject of a forthcoming blog post).
‘Keep on keeping on’ and never give up!
I hope you’re coping with all that’s happening and all that’s not happening.