Rethinking Rejection

Hi Friends,

Last week the two paintings I submitted to the Ventura County Fair were rejected by the jurors. This is nothing new. Artists face rejection all the time, but this one bothered me more than others.

Maybe it’s because Ventura is my hometown, and I like to think I’m accepted here. I know the rejection doesn’t really mean anything, but sometimes it’s hard not to take it personally. It can be difficult to separate myself from my art.

Since then I’ve been thinking about the meaning of rejection. Does it matter if my art is accepted? Is acceptance the reason I’m creating it? Can rejection be seen as positive? It sometimes motivates me to create better work, more daring work, and more exciting work.

Rejection is also a reminder that it doesn’t matter all that much what people think of my art. I create art that’s meaningful to me and that I hope will resonate with others. I’m grateful for all of you who like my art and support my practice, and I’m also OK with those who don’t like my work.

It will be interesting to go to the fair and see what art the jurors did accept!

Here are the two paintings I submitted that were rejected:

Cassandra Tondro, "Channeling Van Gogh, Irises," abstract art

“Channeling Van Gogh,” 30 x 40 inches, repurposed acrylic latex paint on canvas

Cassandra Tondro, "Spark Joy," contemporary painting

“Spark Joy,” 30 x 30 inches, repurposed acrylic latex paint on canvas

What’s your experience with rejection? I’d enjoy hearing your comments and thoughts. You can share them with us in the comments section below.

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12 Comments

  1. Maybe the painting was too large or not the right size,color or taste for what they were looking for their collection.I would not take it personal and will miss seeing your beautiful colors and patterns.

  2. Even your soso best friends reject you for expressing your opinion, thoughts,beliefs;Or you just don’t fit into someone’s work system.I deal with it every day and yes it is hurtful.What to do? Well you can become reclusive,which I have done a lot,but then you realize that we are social beings.I get up refreshed anew every day and open myself to the outside more or less.
    I enjoy and gladly accept the ones,who are open to me.

    1. Hi Helga,

      Yes, you never know why work was rejected. Like you said, it could be size, taste, or who knows what. Good for you for staying open and seeking out people who you enjoy and who enjoy your company! You go girl!

  3. Both paintings are beautiful and rejection always hurts. As you and others have noted, who knows what the aesthetics of the jurors were! For every rejection, for every door that closes, say thank you and move on. Your art is a part of you, a growing evolving part of your life…don’t let anyone, especially art critics, put a damper on your creativity and spirit. Thanks for sharing

    1. Excellent points, Corinne. I don’t take rejection too seriously — not enough to change the work that I’m doing, anyway. Sometimes I’m curious about why my work was rejected, but we don’t usually get to know that. Oh well. Onward! Thanks for sharing your thoughts and your support.

  4. Having pieces rejected from an event is tough! You’ll never know the reason, so that gives the mind free reign to dig up any and every old hurt. I know you are a pro and won’t get thrown by it, but sending a hug your way just in case. XO

    1. That’s funny, Lyn! You’re right — it does dig up old stuff. I guess it’s a good opportunity to clear all of that out! Thanks for the hug. We can all use them, right? Sending you one back. XO

  5. As a small business owner, I get my share of likes and dislikes from customers… thankfully more likes than dislikes. I find that the dislikes oftentimes have more to do with a customer’s mood on that particular day rather than anything I have done (or not done).

    But occasionally it really bothers me.

    That’s when I think of author J.K. Rowling and the massive rejections she received from every major publishing house in the English-speaking world. That in itself illustrates how some people, even the so-called experts, just don’t understand what it is they are looking at… even something as well-crafted as the first Harry Potter book.

    It’s always nice to hear someone say, “I like it”, I because we all crave validation for a job well done. Still, that validation is nothing more than a subjective opinion rendered at a specific point in time, dependent on the moods of others.
    I believe faith in your vision, contentment in what you have created, and perseverance are personally more rewarding in the long run.

    That said, you know me… I like it.

    1. Thanks so much, Ann. I love the J.K. Rowling story. It’s inspiring to know that even great writers like her have been rejected. I do my best to keep my nose to the grindstone and not pay too much attention to what other people think, but sometimes I get thrown, and there you have it! I guess I’m human just like everyone else!

  6. Update: I went to the Ventura County Fair today, and there was no nonobjective abstract art in the Pro Arts show, except for two pieces by John White, who is a well-known artist here in Ventura. I guess this wasn’t the year for abstract!

  7. I particularly like the pink one. But you just never know. I think it all depends on the personal taste of the juror(s). This happens to me all the time. I am working on marketing a different way. But that takes time. Keep trying! I love your repurposed paint theme. Maybe you can emphasize that part of your art more because not many are doing it. Good luck and much success!

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