An Artists Relationship With Their Art

Handling Rejection: An Artist’s Relationship With Their Art – #3

Gosh, sometimes it can be so hard to figure out if you’re being rejected or your art is being rejected. Thinking to yourself “They don’t like my art, so they don’t like me either.” Whats an artist to do?

I’ve asked myself this question so many times! How am I supposed to handle rejection?

It stinks, it hurts my feelings, how ever you put it it’s a raw deal. But we can learn a lot through the rejection process. We can learn how we cope with it, we can learn to overcome it, we can use it to spur on new and better art, we can use it to challenge ourselves. Yeah, getting all those initial rejections suck! But its amazing when the right person finds the piece of art that speaks to them and they buy it.

I’ve also asked myself – When they reject my art are they rejecting me too?

I’ve learned that just because someone doesn’t like, understand or otherwise “get” an art work, that’s all it is. They are making a personal opinion about an artwork that you have done, not making a personal opinion on the artist who made it. Hell, they might like another art work instead!

I wanted to know how other artists were able to handle the rejection process, so I asked them.

I would love to hear your answer to the question “What is the best way to handle rejection?” Post your answer in the comments below.

What is the best way to handle rejection?

Vas Littlecrow: Realize that rejection is good and healthy.  It helps you identify weaknesses in your work and ultimately makes it better.  When you experience enough rejection, you discover what is constructive criticism and what is pettiness.  Rejection helps you discover your target audience by the process of elimination.  Well-taken rejection becomes the gift of focus.  I love rejection because that’s one less hurdle I have to jump to find acceptance. –


Delisa Carnegie: This is a hard one. I don’t expect everyone to like my work, just like I know not everyone will like me. I think that helps me deal with it. If someone doesn’t like me, I don’t worry about. I know they are someone I don’t want to hang out with anyway. If they don’t like my work, they aren’t going to be spending time with it or buying. There are other people that are interested. I don’t have time to be bothered with people that aren’t interested, personally or creatively. –


Charlene Slimp: Rejection is hard. It can really hurt. Whether it comes from loved ones or strangers, it still stings. But the important thing to remember is that if someone rejects your art, it’s because they aren’t in the same place as you were (or are) or haven’t had those experiences that laid the groundwork for your artwork. Sometimes, like with my Dreamscapes and Nightmares series, rejection – that look of horror and disgust – is even validation of what I do. –


Kesha Bruce: The only way to handle rejection is to accept it and to move on. Whether your work is accepted or rejected is in some ways completely divorced from what you’re doing in the studio.  You can’t control if an exhibition jury, or a grant or fellowship panel likes your work. And you certainly can’t let that kind of rejection stop you from creating the work you need to make. –


Abigail Markov: Create more and never stop pushing your own limits. Having a few good friends to rant near-incoherently to helps as well. –


Tori Deaux: I recognize that while creating my art is a very personal process, other people aren’t in my head, and don’t see my art as “me”.   To them, it is just an image which they’re judging by their own criteria. That criteria may be about the feelings it evokes in them, or the way it might look above their couch.  That’s not about me… it’s about them, it’s about their emotions, their goals, their decor.    The relationship between a piece of art and its owner is as complex as the relationship between the artist and their art… and I try to respect that. –

I would love to hear your answer to the question “What is the best way to handle rejection?” Post your answer in the comments below.

Join us next week as we delve deeper into our relationships with our art!

Next weeks topic: “Friend, Fan, or Foe?” Sign up to receive free updates.


  1. David Lafferty

    My way of handling ‘rejection’ is to see why! It’s an individual thought process! I always remember that if my work is being viewed publicly or otherwise, they will see it similarly or not, or not at all. If art is a expression or a extension into the beholders mind when viewed its a stimulus, it will evoke emotions, in whatever medium it is, so what I am saying is to respect what others see in your art whether it is a positive opinion(s) or not? The way I see it is in my expression, or extension in why and how I do it or did it. Although I have just gotten back into art the above was how I felt a long time ago when I was practicing art.

  2. Josh

    Hey, it’s Josh from Puttytribe. I don’t usually get rejection with my music. It’s more like oh okay, whatever. But you know Steven Pressfield says do the work no matter what, so it’s important to just get over yourself and keep doing what you’re supposed to be doing.

    1. Emily Rose

      Thanks for your input Josh. That is a great way to look at things! I’m going to have to check out Steven Pressfield! See you around PuttyTribe!

  3. Pingback: VAS Littlecrow:Amparo |

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