Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Overcoming the Fear of Rejection

(Brought to you by our friends at Art Business Advice)

Rejection hurts. And it tends to stick with us for a long time afterward. This is why many artists are fearful when it comes to showing their art. They have been rejected before by being told they were not good enough. They have been told they would never make it in the arts. At the other end of the spectrum, however, are artists who are very confident and appear to have no fear at all. These artists will jump at the chance to show their art anywhere, anytime and to anyone.

The Fear of Rejection: An Artist’s Viewpoint

The main reason many artists get nervous and fearful of showing their art is because they are so wrapped up in it personally. They ARE their work. It is often times impossible for artists to separate themselves from their art. So when their art is on display, they are too. And when their work is critiqued, so are they. This is the root of the problem.

How Fear Can Hold You Back

Compared with other fears (i.e. Sharks, Spiders, Etc.) this one seems pretty tame. It is almost like stage fright or the fear of public speaking. But imagine being an actor with stage fright or a politician who is scared of making speeches. As artists, this fear will always affect how we promote ourselves and our work. If we lack confidence about our art, why would anyone else be confident enough to buy it from us? For us to be truly successful, we need to be able to show our work to anyone and be able to share why we are proud of it. We also need to be able to accept criticism (and even outright dislike) of our work and move on.

How to Overcome the Fear of Rejection

If you find yourself too nervous to show your art to gallery managers, potential buyers or anyone else who could further your career, here are three things that might help:

1) Separate yourself—emotionally—from your art

This is more easily said than done, but the idea is to put some emotional distance between yourself and your work. If it takes holding a mental ceremony when you finish a piece, do it. Convince yourself that you no longer are tied to this particular work. It’s done. Finished. In the past. Believe that when you completed it, you did the best that you could. Now, it stands alone, a work of art like any other—the comments that people make about it DO NOT reflect on you personally.

2) Know the Artwork’s "Flaws"

Once you have separated yourself from your art, try to pick out the flaws in it yourself. In doing so, you are preparing yourself for the worst. Sure, it could be that no one will see the flaws that you see—but perhaps someone will, and if they do, you will be ready for it.

3) Go to As Many Critiques As Possible

If you get nervous just thinking about a group critique, start small. Ask an artist friend to critique your art one-on-one before you enter a full group critique. If you pick the right person, he or she will point out where you can improve while still being supportive. Then see if the group mentions the same things. It may not be as easy hearing the critiques from them as it was one-on-one, but odds are you will not by surprised. Keep going to as many critique groups as you can. In time, you WILL get used to constructive criticism, and that will help prepare you for the less-constructive criticism that you may come across everywhere else.

Reposted By:

Adam Brown

Osio-Brown Editions Website

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