Recently I bared my soul on an internet forum and received a strong response.
It was a response to a discussion about artists most inner fears. Fear of failure, fear of putting our newly birthed art babies out into the world. I disclosed that I had been scared and insecure about my fine art work and that I had finally decided to show some of my illustrations in an art show. One of the members responded to me about my insecurities saying that I had a defeatist attitude , with it I was setting myself up for failure, and I have better make some changes NOW.
Some thought it harsh. Initially I felt shocked, but I heard her loud and clear and she was right. I knew that, and I was ready to take that step into the unknown .
I framed my works, dropped them off last week, and Saturday was the opening.
I had been in Westchester visiting my dear sister and family, whom I had not seen since New Years. They live about 2 hours away, so it is an entire day trip for us to go. I took Alanna, my 2 year old granddaughter as my sister’s baby is the same age. We had a great time, but I had to cut it short to come home for the opening.
I arrived home in enough time to change and brush my teeth, put on my dress, and head out. I checked the answering machine as it had several messages. I am hesitant to do that before going out, as I am often faced with family crisis situations that are either unnerving, annoying, or dangerous, and it makes me obsess for the evening.
The message on the machine stated that my artwork had not been hung in the show as it was the decision of the gallery committee not to hang work that was not wired. I was in shock. A call hours before a show opening? How absurd and unprofessional! A rush of emotions went through me like a freight train. Anger, frustration, disappointment, sadness. I did not wire my work as the frames were very fragile and I left instructions on how to hang them. I ran a gallery for a year, have curated and many shows over the years, and figured all was fine. I have submitted work to this organization for years, they know me well, and I have volunteered over this period too.
I was so angry and upset that I could not bear to go to the opening. I promptly emailed the president saying that artists deserve more than a few hours notice, especially when them make special plans and invite friends. I forwarded the email to one of my friends on the gallery committee. Apparently, there were artists who showed up to see their work in the show who faced the same disappointment and emotions as I. There was a litany of reasons, none of which dealt with the issue that artists deserve more respect than what I and others had gotten.
To make a long story short, I think I was heard. Policy changes will be made so that this does not happen again. But it was not without struggle and determination on my part. Where others might just have sighed and gone home, I had to be heard. (as a child I was nicknamed after a fictional character “the Loud Red Patrick)
I have two unhung pieces, but I guess I should be glad that I have two more framed pieces. They fit a certain theme, and were not something that normally I would have matted and framed, but so be it.
The world has still not seen my work. I guess the time was not right and I will just look for the next opportunity to do so.
It was tough. I felt like I was punched in the gut and eating a face full of dirt. I could have laid there groveling, or I could pick myself up, dust myself off, and go on. It took me a while to get up as I felt winded, but I did and am ready to get back on the proverbial horse.
I salvaged the evening by going over to Bard to the Spiegel Tent and danced with the cast and crew of the opera which had just closed. It was a flash back to the past dancing to KC and the Sunshine Band, Earth Wind and Fire et. Al. A few glasses of wine, a handsome dancing partner, and I was able to loose my emotions into the night and feel alive again.
Later on today I will publish as second post, a review on the zine "A Glimpse of Asia".
THank you all for coming along on these journeys with me. patti