Hey guys - So I've been fighting the flu all week, and while I feel a bit better today, I'm still pretty zoned out...so this one may be brief.
This week, the entries to "Infected by Art" volume 5 were announced. There are some TREMENDOUS paintings in this book, it is by far the best work they've published, and I am super excited to see it.
...I also didn't get into it. I only submitted two paintings, but they were not selected. Looking at the work that WAS chosen, I get a sense of the judges and what they were looking for, and honestly, I'm not too surprised I didn't make it.
I also had a couple of friends who seemed to take it pretty hard that they weren't selected.
It made me remember the importance of not assigning too much value to "milestones" you can't control. It's so, so easy to look for validation in your work and your efforts from things like "getting into <xxx>" or "getting a job at <yyy>" that we almost do it as second nature. I've heard lots of people make these kinds of New Years Resolutions! The problem is, you can't control what other people do. You can't control who else applies for those jobs, and you can't control what the judges are looking for.
I try to treat submissions to annuals or shows like the ancient samurai treated going into battle. Assume you are going to die. Make peace with that, and then you are free. Doesn't mean don't do your best, but just assume you aren't going to get in. If you do, GREAT! It is super, super nice to get that outside validation....but if you don't, it doesn't have to be about you at all. It's certainly not a sign that you suck and should give up art, or trying to get into books, or shows, or jobs!
Above all else, try not to take it personally. In cases where there are multiple judges, you never know what the story was. Cynthia Sheppard told me a story about someone who wrote her an incredibly nasty letter after they didn't get into Spectrum last year when Cynthia was one of the judges...here's the thing - Cynthia *liked* the piece, it was the other judges that didn't give it a high enough rating. As a general rule, try not to pick a fight with an AD at WotC... and remember that sometimes, just entering will get you results, even if you don't win.
All of this ties in to the fact that entries for Spectrum 24 are due next week. I'm going to submit, and I would encourage anyone else who thinks they *might* have what it takes to submit as well. I'm going to do my best to not treat it as a life or death test of my artistic merit, or anything other than a good "arbitrary" date to keep me focused and working on improvement. If you are paying attention to such things, I hope you're looking at it the same way. Sometimes having a date gives us the push we need, but we can't let the date consume our lives, or think that it makes us more or less "real" as artistic creators.
A'ight, thanks for reading! I'm going to try to rest and feel better :)