Michael Carini shares rejection from Oceanside Museum of Art

Don't Allow Rejection To Stop You...A Candid Reflection

Just an honest, in the moment reflection about rejection

Back at the beginning of the year, I shared a few rejections from art galleries and talked about how rejection is a stepping stone on the road to success. I do still believe that, but months later, I still find myself fighting and falling short. This past week, I received two more rejections, one from the Oceanside Museum of Art and another from a gallery in Palm Springs. As the rejections continue to pile up, I'm starting to wonder, where do I go from here?

The art life isn't easy. It never has been, and it's getting more challenging every single day. Cost of living is becoming unmanageable for so many, and as it does, art is often the first thing people cut from their budget. This makes it tougher and tougher to live this dream. It's not impossible, but it is increasingly difficult.

I've always said that it's up to artists, myself included, to find creative solutions to our problems. In the past, I have been able to find those creations solutions. Lately, I find myself falling short. I'm a big believer that lost is just a step away from found, and I could be one door away from knocking on the door of opportunity, but I have to take a moment to acknowledge how tiring it can be, constantly and repeatedly knocking...and knocking...and knocking. If I quit now, though, that door is guaranteed to never open. 

I've been doing this for decades. I am no stranger to rejection, and I even talk about how for every opportunity, there might be 20, 30, 50 rejections...possibly more. The secret is to keep going. Though I still believe that, some days I'm just beat. Some days I'm tired. Some days the burn of that fight isn't as bright. I put every piece of me into what I do, and when I fall short, sometimes I feel like I'm just not enough. I was at the point of giving up on life when I fully invested in this dream, and it's terrifying to think that that it might not work out like I thought it would, because I know what that means. 

This year I revisited my business model and started making some changes to support growth and counter the current struggles of the industry. This put me back in the space of having to put myself out there with submittals and seeking new relationships. With that quest comes the risk of rejection. If I don't take that risk, though, ultimate failure is inevitable.

Though I know how this goes and I've calloused my mind over the years, conditioning myself to rejection, it's been humbling to have to get back into that side of things and face that rejection again. Sometimes it feels like it's day one. After doing this for decades, perhaps I did think it might be a little easier or that the odds might be better in my favor. Instead of 20 attempts in the past, perhaps now it might only be 10. Here I am today, though, and what I have for my recent efforts is 0. I have nothing tangible to show for it, at least not yet. That doesn't mean that I won't have something to show for it in the future if I keep going, but that doesn't make the current struggle any less painful.  

When I first started out on this journey, rejection was tough. It got easier though. At this stage of my career, it has been a little surprising to find that I do still struggle with that rejection at times, and sometimes I struggle with it a lot. I'm older. I'm wiser. I've been in the industry for a long time and I've done some things. I think for that reason, I was expecting things to be a bit smoother, but nothing can hurt you like your own expectations. I find myself having to remind myself that the journey isn't supposed to be easy. Though it's good to let these feelings out of me so they don't consume me, I can't lose myself in them. I have to pick myself up and keep going. I have no plan B, so failure is not an option, because it would mean my end. 

If you quit on the journey to your dream, you will never reach it. If you keep going, there is always hope. It's not going to be easy, but dreams are not supposed to be easy. I might be right at the precipice of my next big thing. I may also have a ways to go. I don't know. In either case, I will simply keep going because the only road is forward. This is what I was put on this earth to do. This is my purpose. This is my calling. By simply refusing to quit, I will succeed. It may take a few more steps and a few more failures than expected. That's fine. Whatever it takes, that is what I will do. I am determined. I am committed to showing you that this is possible, but I'm also committed to being honest about my struggles on the journey. Perhaps I do just need to treat it like it's day one and put the ego aside. Maybe what I need to do is recreate myself. I guess it's a good thing that I'm an artist. 

I will keep going...and I hope you will too. Let's take this journey together.

I encourage you to share your rejections. Don't let them hold you down. Allow them to empower you. Allow them to set you free. 

Don't forget to check out all of my artist support talks on YouTube

Michael Carini shares his rejections from art galleries and museums
Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.