Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Take it like an artist

I'm an artist. I associate with a lot of other artists. One thing that has recently been bothering me is how whiny my comrades are.

The arts are not for sissies so don't act like one. Remember that the arts are an industry with 90% unemployment rate. For every writer, visual artist, dancer, actor, singer, photographer, musician who gets the gig there are literally thousands who don't. When you commit to be an artist you commit to spend you fair share of time being the among the thousands in the slush pile. I agree it is discouraging.

I have been thinking about this a lot lately and in a spur of frustration finalized the following philosophy.

There are several ways to deal with the inevitable rejection.

1. Whine. Go on and on about how the judges were racist. How they were sexist. How they just hate fantasy writers. How they just didn't understand your style. How they were just promoting their friends. Her dad is on the on the theatre board and she can't even act ect. Life isn’t fair. Being an artist is competitive. Get over it.

2. Accept it. Sometimes this is the best option. Sometimes her dad is the on the theatre board just so she gets the parts she wants. Sometimes the lead actor is shorter than you. Sometimes there were 456 other girls auditioning and you just didn’t get in. Sometimes. In these cases you can’t do anything. So remind yourself how long it was until J.K. Rowling was published or go do whatever it is that re-inspires you and just keep trying.

3. Take it professionally. Ask yourself why you didn’t get the gig and answer honestly. You say they were helping their friends? It makes sense. People like their friends. The arts are just like any other business—the strength of weak ties still applies. So, make your own friends in the arts. They might help you professionally. Or they might give you company while you are both struggling in the same fight. You win either way. They were biased against your genre? Okay, so why not send the same piece into a journal geared toward that genre. They didn’t understand your style? Or was it maybe because you weren’t prepared for the audition and what you call your stylistic interpretation is what you are hiding behind because you can’t remember your lines? Ask yourself what that other girl has that you don’t and answer honestly. Then take a deep breath and force yourself to make improvements where necessary.

In conclusion there are many times in the arts or in life when you will be over looked and passed by. So learn from them if you can. It’s hard. Heaven knows I am just as self—pitying as the next artist… but as in any industry the more you know the more advantage you have. So learn your lessons wherever you can.

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