On rejection and awesome parents...

I've decided that it is time to actually do some artist promotion, artist growth, artist outreach for myself. For many reasons it is much easier to do it for others, when it comes to talking about myself and promoting my work, I struggle a bit. But it's now or never. So it is time for gallery submissions and residency applications, for show proposals and blog posts.

When you apply and submit and promote and propose you have to be ready for some rejection. Hopefully a lot of acceptance as well, but some rejection nonetheless.

I will always remember my first rejection letter quite fondly, thanks to my parents' awesomeness. I can't remember the show, maybe something in Tucson. I can't even remember the guest juror's name. What I do remember is going out for sushi with my mom and dad that night (by the way I am a grown-up in this story, early 30's I think, not a little thing). My head hanging down, I showed my parents the form letter. I'm pretty sure some dramatic sighing was involved. My mother took the letter and said "Well no wonder, this juror so and so absolutely hates your father. There is no way you could've gotten in with the last name Mahaffey." My dad agreed, "Yep, no way, all my fault."

Whether that was true or not, I have no idea. But I do know it helped me just get over it. First rejection under the belt I was game for the next submission. I just realized it's super subjective. Yes skill matters, yes resumes matter, yes artist statements matter, but in the end you can do it all perfectly and someone might not pick you. But then again they might.

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all images © spencer mahaffey lightfoot 2020

watercolor mosaic artist paonia artist rainbow artist