Saturday, 4 October 2008

Bums Rush!

This is painful for me (and calls for extra lashings of vino colapso) but you might as well share my tribulations as well as my joys.
The Big Submission I was being so coy and secretive about was my application to become an Artist Member of the Paisley Art Institute (PAI) which, you will gather from the title of this piece, was unsuccessful.
I have been a lay member of this organisation for some time and when the latest newsletter came through my door intimating that new Artist Membership was about to be considered I decided that rather than let the opportunity pass by I was feeling confident enough to submit the following drawing and two paintings (suitably framed):

Now I know it's difficult for any of you to pass any real qualitative judgement on what you see as cyber images but I felt that these were generally indicative of the work I do - a broad range (within the limitation of three) of bold watercolours, strong pencil drawings, and dynamic figurative painting. Alas not what is acceptable to the Paisley Art Institute.
I do not really understand why I was rejected (pours another drink). Either it has something to do with the raw nature of my work (West of Scotland Art currently tends to be pretty smooth) or my framing was inadequate: I wasn't prepared to splash out on all new custom framing hoping the artwork would speak for itself so I re-used a professional double-mounted black frame for the sunflowers, an off-the-shelf beech frame for the drawing (this would have cost me a fortune to get my framer to do at this size), and a self-made stripwood edging, painted white, for the oil painting. I thought they each looked great, and was pretty pleased, but obviously my taste is in my bahookie! (pours another drink).

Where to now?

This is undoubtably a bit of a set-back for me, but as my grannie used to say: "Whit's fur ye (for you) will no go bye ye".

Looks like the PAI wisnae fur me!


mawakeley said...

No, the PAI was not for you, and that's not a bad thing. It means you are meant to look elsewhere, where your work will be honored and grandly received for what it is. In the enormous scheme of things, it's a pin hole of an event, my good friend. So chin up, and onward, and have another glass or two on me.

I'd been waiting and waiting for your rummaging to be over and was hoping for some david humour yesterday so I jumped right on here when I saw you'd posted something new tonight!

Hope all went well with the pre-return hoovering :))


vivien said...

I think I know why

Been there done that!

You've tried to show a broad range of your subject matter and work and as they are only judging on these and not the whole range of your work it can appear fragmented, that you aren't sure of your own 'voice'.

Someone who knows your work knows that you do experiment (which is of course vital) but that there are series of sketches and finished pieces behind each of those. Selectors who may not know you don't know that.

I did the same thing and was told quietly why and that I should re-apply the next year with a more cohesive body of work.

It worked!

I also put a sketchbook in to show the thinking around subjects etc - not asked for but an essential element of 'me'.

When I was later on the council of the society I suggested that they ask for a sketchbook alongside work as it really shows what you do and how. They made it optional as not everyone uses them but it made deciding on new members easier I felt (as a council member I was one of the decisions makers - ooh the power!!!).

daviddrawsandpaints said...

You are always a steady and positive support to me Marianna, for which I truly thank you.

The chin is indeed down at the moment, or as we say here: I'm totally scunnered! But I will slap on my happy face and just get on with it :o}

In the West of Scotland there aren't too many places for me to show my work and while I am a bit ambivalent about the PAI I believed the standard of my work was at least comparable to much that I see in their exhibitions.

And you are absolutely right Vivien. I knew deep down when I was putting these three paintings together that they might not see it as a range of talent but a simpleton's confusion. However, the eternal show-off in me couldn't resist showing-off! So it probably serves me right.

I really appreciate your comments and insight to the judging process and perhaps I will try again next year. The big question is whether I still want to become an Artist Member of the PAI.
Also, normally I would agree about the inclusion of a sketchbook but I'm afraid that might convince them just how confused I really am!

So we move on one step forward and two steps back (a bit like the tango with a Scottish thistle instead of a rose between my teeth) and try to get back to where I left off with the rummaging!

Thank you both for your kind comments :o) (my smiley slap-happy face).

Andrea Kobayashi 小林アンドレア said...

Vivien makes a good point. I often think of submissions and juried prizes etc. a bit like buying a lottery ticket. As one rarely if ever gets feedback, it's too hard to work out *why*, and easy to beat oneself up over it. Just 'buy another ticket' next year (if you feel like it). I've been bummed more times than I can remember, it never feels great but 'shoganai' -it can't be helped. (shrugs shoulders) The best artists have often been the rejected ones!

Your new heating system sounds ace!

my croft said...

oh, my buddy, I'm so sorry for your disappointment. If it's any consolation, it seems to be going around -- at least it is over here in my neck o' the world. I was turned down by the major art quilt show, as was a friend whose work is never less than breathtaking. (And I thought: hmmm, if they declined her work, I'm in some pretty exalted company regardless...)

A friend who does the gallerything had the same advice that Viven has so ably offered -- that the work be 'of a kind.' It seems also to ease the marketing side of things -- you (the gallery) know that the wanna-buy-a-flower audience can be consistently assuaged and augmented with a reliable stream o' stuff from the "flower guy."

I'm glad to hear you rallied to the hoovering -- and that it was worth the effort. As soon as I hit "publish your comment," I feared I was all too free with the free advice.

Chin up, bucko. As my mother too often says: it's a great life if you don't weaken.


Brian McGurgan said...

I'm sorry to hear of your disappointment, David, but heartily applaud your courage for putting your work out there for others to judge. Your work looks great all matted and framed and will be ready to go on display elsewhere, where it will no doubt be warmly received and appreciated. Well done - chalk this one up as another personal and artistic accomplishment along the way.

daviddrawsandpaints said...

You know, I was really unsure about posting my failure at getting accepted by the PAI as I didn't want to appear to be wearing my heart on my sleeve kinda thing and calling out for sympathy, but it did occur to me that having made many friends online there was no shame in talking about disappointments as well as...I was going to say "as well as triumphs" but there haven't been too many of them lately unless you count my hoovering exploits, ha!:o} But, I'm glad I did because all your responses show me that we are indeed a community that shares these same experiences and do care for one another. Something I have always wanted to be part of. So thanks to each and every one of you. I appreciate it very much [does anyone know how to do a wee face with a single tear dripping down?]

Andrea: It has been a learning experience for me and I will post something on that soon and it's good to know that the Japanese always have a good word for the best response {but can they do wee faces with single tears dripping down?}

Melanie: I can't believe what you are telling me from the recent beautiful images on your blogsite {I'll be over your place soon with some observations}.
I consider myself to be a bit of an outsider who has never quite found his niche so Institutes like the PAI are a bit of a mystery (and an attraction) to me. This present experience has been a wake-up call and the questions for me are: "can I rise to the challenge?" and; "do I want to"? Still pondering. And as for being a 'flower person' I left floral trousers behind in the
60's. [you should have seen me - there is no other word but "fabulous"!]
Your hoovering advice was more than welcome, and, with my chin now up somewhere around my knees, I think your maw's advice is very very true!
A kiss on each cheek for you xx!

And Brian: Thanks for your kind words. I see that lots of people, as artists, have some understanding of this experience. My next post will try to come to terms with it and find a way to move forward.

My replies to everyone's comments get so long (but enjoyable) that I should probably put them up as posts in their own right - then I could add pics to illustrate the points!

Ciao a tutte :o)

Melinda said...

Well, I'm a bit late, but I'm sending you empathy just the same. I'm so sorry that you didn't get accepted, but you've learned from the shared stories of others that it isn't about the quality of the work!

Every couple of years here in Tucson, the Museum of Art (the holy of holies for AZ artists) has an open call to all Arizona artists, known and unknown, to submit work for their Biennial. It's a very big deal. Every year I submit work, hoping, and every year so far, nothing. However, there is a well respected gallery who now offers a Salon des Refusés exhibit during the same time. They get their artists list directly from the museum. I tell you this because last year they had t-shirts for all of the artists who didn't get in. On the back of the shirts, in bold letters, it says, "Rejection is Acceptance."
I wear my t-shirt with pride.

So, what I would like to suggest to you are two things: rejection is not really rejection, and, if you are able to submit work to several places, like shopping for the right fit in a clothing store, you will find the best match for you, even if next year you choose to re-submit!

P. S. I took off the 'follow widget' because I kept losing people. I don't know what was going on with that.

daviddrawsandpaints said...

Melinda, Melinda, Melinda,
Where would I be without dear Melinda.
I'd be lost in hopeless recrimination,
Or barking up the wrong tree,
But when Melinda comes visiting, and offers her song,
I perk up my ears - she can do no wrong,
For there's nothing like the words of Melinda!

Lateness doesn't matter, Melinda - I am always tardy at at speaking (or least I should be - perhaps I might engage the mind before I open my gob!)

I am even slower at responding, Melinda, but I very much appreciate you adding your soothing voice of support to this castaway on the oceans of institutional art.

As Groucho once famously said (in Duck Soup) "I wouldn't want to be a member of a club that would have me as a member!" I would change this to: "I wouldn't want to be a member of a club that didn't want me to be a member!" Doesn't have the same ring to it but much more heartfelt!

Rejection is becoming like a badge of honour. If you sent me a t-shirt I too would wear it with pride!

ps: I also have deleted myself from the "I am following you" thingy for the present until I see it in a more positive light! (it didn't help being self-represented in a bunnet and long dark coat, ha!)

Melinda said...

Oh, how I laughed and laughed! You are such a dear. It's wonderful that you have been encouraged by your fan club. You have a strong talent and your work and attitude inspire me!

I swear you are a distant cousin--our minds run in the same vein so often.

P. S. My mother's name is Beryl, you know. And, she would make references to "peril" once in awhile, but I just thought she was exhibiting a moment of frankness.

daviddrawsandpaints said...

Ah, Beryl the Peril - I used to follow her exploits every week in 'The Topper' comic. A girl after my own heart!: (Cut and paste if you will).