This lead me to thinking about entering, submitting, and the whole jury process for artists. It seemed like a natural topic to follow validation. Woody Allen is quoted as saying "80% of success is showing up." I think that goes hand in hand with "you can't win if you don't play." Many people don't even try to submit work because they don't think their work will be accepted , or they fear rejection.But in order to have any chance of being accepted, you have to show up and play.
I've been on both sides of the jury process over the years and know that there are always going to be people whose work is accepted and rejected. Recently I acted as a juror again, and as expected, had to "reject" some of what was entered. There are always more entries that spaces. As a part of a team, I knew there was also a subjective factor. It's human nature to rank things a bit differently, despite certain criteria. With space constraints, the pieces that received the highest overall rankings were ultimately accepted. The others faced rejection.
I always think about those whose works are rejected-especially when they are new to the experience. It's tough to face it the first time. But never let that rejection shut you down. We know that there are many reasons for rejection and it doesn't necessarily mean that the work doesn't have merit. Depending on the show, event, or book there could be any number of reasons for the outcome. For a show, it may have to do with what the jurors envision. Or it may be that you "just missed" the cut, space-wise (too many jewelers applied, for example). Maybe it was the quality of the image submitted. Look at what was accepted and see how your entry might differ.
Once I had the same pieces rejected from a show that had been previously chosen to appear in a book. When I later viewed the show, I understood that what I submitted didn't fit with the jurors vision of the show–which probably became clear as they viewed the entries and how they might relate to one another to create a cohesive show.
If you face rejection, ask some questions. Was this my best work? Was it truly unique? Did I pay attention to detail, craftsmanship, design? Did I photograph the best possible view? Should I have opted for a professional photograph? And for more input, or if you experience repeated rejection, try to get some suggestions from a teacher or professional artist. Know that the more you enter, the easier it gets to separate yourself from that risk of rejection. Of course, acceptance gives us a great sense of validation, but we can learn from rejection. It's part of the balance. And when you're accepted, be thankful, and remember that someone else probably wasn't–it really keeps things in perspective.