aqua fortis

Friday, September 22, 2006

Rejection with a Twist

I was looking a little more closely at a rejection letter I got a few days ago for a manuscript I sent to the Phelan Literary Award competition at Intersection for the Arts. It was a rather lengthy letter, announcing the winners and even mentioning my manuscript by name (probably mail-merge) as well as encouraging me to apply again, blah blah blah. The usual.

Then I got to the bottom and noticed there was an actual signature, in actual ink. Then I noticed the name under the signature, and realized that I know this person. Yikes! It was signed by their Program Director, who we vaguely know because he used to work at Kala Art Institute when Rob was an intern there. He's a really cool, nice person. It's weird to get a rejection letter signed by him, especially since we haven't seen him in years. I doubt he would even make the connection with Rob, since we weren't married yet at the time Rob was working with him.

Anyway, that also reminded me there's a Phelan award in printmaking, too. Maybe I'll apply for that instead. I'm feeling a little blah about my writing right now, so I may focus on visual art for a bit and take a short mental break from writing (except for a paid gig I'm working on for the Mills Quarterly, which is an entirely different animal). I'm sort of thinking about illustration, because a few potential leads have come my way and I'll need a better, more appropriate portfolio if I want to do anything in that area. I'm working on a few fine art pieces that might work in an illustration portfolio, but I really need to keep those as separate as possible (lest my fine art be dismissed as "illustrational"). I've always felt uncomfortably stuck in the middle between fine art and more commercial forms of art; though my art is fairly conceptual, I usually depict things representationally, I'm very figurative, and I don't work on a large scale. And I have no problem with illustration as an art form. In fact, I'm very interested in artists who blur that line between art and illustration--many of them are/were printmakers. Frankly, I think it's valid to call art depicting religious or Biblical themes illustration, in a way, yet nobody has a problem with hanging that in fine art museums.

But anyway. My rant seems to have run out of steam. My point is that I'm feeling a little lost in one creative area, so I think I'll turn to another for a bit and hope that energizes me again. Tomorrow we're going to an art opening for a friend of ours, so maybe that will get my mind going.


TadMack said...

The nice thing about doing illustration is that you never leave the field... there's SO much crossover between children's book publishers and illustrators you wouldn't believe it! They had to invent Caldecott Medals for that population!

On the other hand, I know nothing from non-illustrative art, but I recall really liking what stuff of yours I'd seen (and am still quite impressed with the artwork you did for The Place before they went all tech-y and borrrring)and you seem to have a very flexible style, so I look forward to seeing your success in that area, too!

DaviMack said...

It's OK to be both a Writer AND an Artist. Just so long as you acknowledge the fact that you have talent as a writer, and aren't abandoning it because it's too hard, if you know what I mean?

It's difficult to be a writer, as it's all inside your head & you don't get the gratification as often or as quickly as you do with other media - it's much along the lines of painting the Sistene Chapel, only you can't really let anybody see it until it's done.

That level of isolation & lack of feedback leads many to give it up entirely, and to stop trying.

Babbling now.

Good luck. You know that we support you.