I wrote this post in 2016 and it still applies today. In this week alone I’ve applied for 3 things and been rejected from 2 others so I thought I’d revisit this post from the archives… enjoy!
The start of many a rejection letter…no need to read the rest.
Rejection is hard for everyone but when you are an independent artist, you apply for a lot of things; grants, residencies, teaching opportunities, exhibitions, projects proposals. So by default, you get A LOT of rejection letters. I don’t keep an actual count, but I’d estimate that I’ve received at least 40 since the beginning of this year and I haven’t even heard back from all the things I’ve applied for.
Sometimes you get more than one per week and it’s hard to not let self doubt creep in. Especially when a lot of your time goes into researching, custom formatting photos for each application and not to mention the $15 -$25 application fees can really add up. But as artists, we force ourselves not to wallow in it and we drag our asses back out to the studio and keep making art.
Kim Liao recently wrote an article called “Why You Should Aim for 100 Rejections A Year”, which discusses the idea of embracing rejection as a goal. The more that you ‘collect’ rejection letters, the more you are applying for, the more practice you get at applying for things, the less you invest in caring about the rejection itself and the odds are you will actually get accepted to a few things too.
While I’ve been rejected from 40+ opportunities to date this year, I’ve also been accepted to at least 10, some of them really amazing, potentially career changing opportunities. The pile of rejection letters next to those few acceptance letters only makes those acceptances even more sweet.
It’s hard to believe in just a few short months; an application, turned into an acception, a sketch turned into a sculpture and now, I have a permanent public art installation in Mariestad Sweden. I’m so grateful for everyone who had a hand in making this happen. And I really look forward to seeing how this installation will change over the seasons. I’ve been trying to imagine the snow cover first, and then the green leaves coming back to the trees in the background of the sculptures and eventually to 12′ tall hops plants that will be planted and flank the Umbel flowers on either side- lots to look forward too! More pics coming to the installation page soon!
After a very long journey, I arrived in the lovely town of Mariestad of the shorefront of Lake Vänern. The hours of sunlight are very limited here this time of year and the drizzly weather makes for fabulously moody skies. I spent the first few days getting over the worst of the jet lag by getting a lay of the land, walking through the nature reserves and watching the locals prepare for the upcoming holiday season. The location for my artwork will be in the Universitetsparken where the University of Gothenburg holds their horticulture program. It seems like the perfect place for my Umbels to reside.
My time in Sweden has not just been spent staring off at scenic vistas, in my few days here so far I’ve unpacked my crate (everything survived- yay!), I have most of the flowers attached to the metal structures, the location of the Umbels has been selected, so the holes for the bases were dug and lighting placement was also chosen. The next few days involve sanding down the connection point of epoxy between the ceramic and the metal so that it’s a smooth transition between the structure and the flowers and then painting the transition to match. There’s also a few interviews with the local news who are interested in my crazy sputnik looking flowers and then it’s looking like Friday morning will be the official final placement. I really can’t say enough about the kommun (municipality) of Mariestad that has answered every question, solved every hiccup in the process at every turn and been so compliant to the artists choice in how steps are taken. I think I’ve been very spoiled here with this amazing public art committee. Final installation pics are coming soon!
I was so happy to hear that my crate of artwork arrived safely in Mariestad Sweden!
One hurdle accomplished. Yay!
I leave for Sweden today and will be spending the following 10 days assembling and installing two large Umbel Flowers for the Off Season Art Gardening: Humle Park project. I’m so looking forward to meeting the team I’ve been planning with in person and exploring Sweden for the first time.
Hoping that it all comes together as planned and that the artwork looks great installed! Fingers crossed!
more to come soon….
I’m so happy to share that two Lichen Series pieces have found the perfect forever home!
There was a lot of time and contemplation that went into this installation but it was so worth it, they really look perfect in this entry hallway. More pics will be up on the website soon!
About the Lichen Series:
The Lichen Series are vertical stalk shaped structures which have a variety of ceramic lichen inspired pieces emerging from and fused to them. This series play with ideas of death and regrowth, the power of negative space and the contrast of dark and light. These pieces are hand-built and hand-carved from high fired stoneware and each piece is original and unique. There are 7 more available for purchase.
photo credit: Michael Cinque Photography
Yesterday afternoon, my art went out on an adventure! A crate of sculptural parts is on its way to Sweden and I’ll be meeting it on the other side in a few weeks. Fingers crossed that it makes it there ok!
I know I’ve spoken about this before but the pressure of creating installational artwork is always a thrill. I really never know if it will all work out until it has. This installation in Sweden is no exception. I’m shipping all the parts which I hope will arrive ok, then I’m counting on my team in Sweden to help me assemble and install this piece in a place I’ve never been before. I’m also trusting all of my testing and consultations with experts that the clay will be able to survive the winters there. All the moving parts of this project make for a slew of opportunities where everything can go wrong, but that’s all part of the fun!
More to come on this project in a few weeks!
These pieces from the Lichen Series haven’t been shown very much, so if you haven’t seen these pieces in my studio, I finally got some good photos of these three trees and they are up on the website now!
The Lichen Series is about new growth from the old, in these pieces the ceramic lichen forms are growing on California black walnut planks that came from a storm fallen tree. The glazed ceramic pieces are inspired by the structures of shelf fungus and have been placed in compositions that follow and enhance the natural grain of the wood. Read more here…
If you’re interested in purchasing them, please contact JCO’s Art Haus in Los Gatos.
I’m so thrilled to be making and installing a permanent sculpture in Mariestad Sweden next month, but it is no easy feat of logistics. I never installed a piece internationally in a place I haven’t been to before while working with people I’ve never met, so it’s exciting and nerve wracking at the same time!
So far, I’ve tackled international shipping rates, logistics of travel, concerns over the clay being in frozen temperatures, crate building (which really the credit goes to my husband Nate for this one), working between the english and metric system, the physics of installing a top heavy sculpture without potential injury to the general public, and oh yeah, making the artwork. When you have to ask questions like, ‘Will the ground be too frozen to dig a hole for the base of the sculpture?’ or ‘Will the wood on my crate make it through customs without an agriculture concern?’ or answer ‘Yes. Yes, I am boiling my clay in a crock pot to test its absorption rate.’ you know you’ve entered a whole new realm of sculpture installation.
All that said, I’m feeling confident that the artwork will look great, that the team I’m working with will be fantastic, and that the logistics will all fall into place. I also think this is a great learning opportunity for me and it’s been fantastic to be able to reach out to my peers and clay colleagues with questions about their own experiences, it makes me realize that we’re all learning as we go and that the challenge is all a part of the fun! Stay tuned, more to come on this art adventure!