Overcoming

How to Overcome Rejection as You Seek Gallery Representation

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Let’s just be frank – as an artist trying to get your art out to the world and into galleries, you are going to run into some rejection. Few artists have found success in the art world without first enduring failure. Not every gallery is going to see the merit of your work, and some of them are going to be pretty forthright in telling you what’s wrong with it. You’re going to have to face some “no’s” to get to that much anticipated “yes.”

As an artist, you would be well served to begin developing a thick skin. Don’t let criticism or rejection stop you from pursuing your passion. Remember, any opinion given by a gallery owner or director is just that, an opinion.

I’ve met too many artists who, after facing two or three harsh rejections, have retreated to their studios where they will hide in their work for months or even years before venturing out into the world again. “I just need to create more work and get a little better before I’m ready to go back out there,” they might say.

If you are creating the best work you can, and if you’ve prepared yourself following the principles I’ve been laying out over the last several months in this course, you are ready for gallery representation. Don’t be afraid to pursue it.

There are many ways to increase your odds for success and reduce the likelihood of rejection (may I humbly suggest reading or rereading “Starving” to Successful), but some level of rejection is inevitable. I would like to spend just a minute sharing some quick tips on how to prepare for and overcome the inevitable rejection you will face as you share your art with the world. These are tips that have helped me when I face rejection with clients, but they will also help you overcome rejection as you attempt to show your work to galleries.

Tips for Overcoming Rejection

1. Know the odds. It sounds counter intuitive, but knowing that most attempts to find gallery representation are going to fail, can help you feel less dejected when a gallery says “no thanks!” The number of rejections you are going to face before being accepted can vary depending on your style of work, your personality, your preparation and any number of other factors, but if you tell yourself to expect 20 rejections before you have success, each rejection will feel like a step down the road to success, instead of a stinging defeat.

2. Force yourself to keep going. As you prepare to approach galleries, make a list of galleries that are possibilities and commit to approach all of them, no matter what happens. It’s unlikely the first gallery you approach will accept your work, so make sure you have a plan b, a plan c and so on. As soon as one gallery let’s you know their not interested, roll on to the next one.

3. Don’t take rejection personally. Even though some gallery owners  may feel a need to reject you in a very personal way, criticizing you and your work, there’s no need to take the rejection to heart.

4. Talk to other artists and learn how they’ve overcome rejection. It’s very easy to feel like you’re the only artist whose ever been rejected so resoundingly. Talking to other artists about their experience can help you realize you are far from alone. Start by reading the comments below!

 

We all fear rejection, but as you gain experience and wisdom in the art business, you’ll come to see that rejection is just another part of the process of building a successful art career.

Help an Artist – Share your Experiences!

Have you encountered a particularly harsh rejection from a gallery? How did you overcome it? What have you done to develop a thicker skin in the face of rejection? Share your experience and thoughts in the comments below.

 

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Comments
  1. Natalie Briney
    • Tim Bedel
  2. Yanik
    • Jason Horejs
  3. Judy Dunn
    • Jason Horejs
    • Cheri O'Brien
    • Wanda H Bellamy
  4. Hazel Stone
    • Kay Stratman
      • Mary Manning
  5. Susan Wiley
    • artpaul cartier
  6. annell livingston
  7. LaMerle Deca
  8. LaMerle Deca
  9. ana guerra
    • Sue Williams
  10. Diane C Taylor
  11. Jan Lutz
  12. annette Ruckert
  13. Marianne Bland
  14. Sharon Sieben
    • Sue Williams
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  19. John Dougan
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    • Maggie Smith
  21. Ken Van Dyne
  22. Philip Koch
    • Joy Hanser
  23. Lynn
  24. Sam Liberman
    • Mary Ellen Salo
  25. Lori Woodward
  26. David Randolph
  27. Jane Wilcoxson
    • Jason Horejs
      • Maggie Smith
    • Jim Carpenter
  28. Stan Bowman
  29. Paul Pinzarrone
  30. Norman Nelson
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  32. Sandra Murphy
  33. Penelope Graydon
  34. Doreen O'Connor
  35. Bob Ragland
  36. Bob Ragland
  37. Joy Hanser
  38. Linda Eichorst
    • Jason Horejs
  39. Marvin Delacruz Santos
    • Jason Horejs
  40. Mason Parker
  41. S. M. Shifflett
  42. Katharine Weber
  43. Ricky Opitz
  44. John Guild
    • Katharine Weber
  45. Gayla Hollis
  46. Janet Stalder
  47. Sandy Greer
  48. Sandi J. Ludescher
  49. Lee Balan
  50. Carol Rondinelli
  51. Mary Armstrong
  52. Mary Manning
  53. Peggy Wrobleski
  54. Jane Wilcoxson
  55. Alita McManis
  56. Phyllis Terrell
  57. J.R. Baldini
  58. Jane Brennan-Koeck
  59. Mike Shoys
  60. Annie
  61. Lynn Ponto-Peterson
  62. Melanie E. Herbruck
  63. Melanie E. Herbruck

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