How to Overcome Artist Rejection and Thrive

Mar 6, 2023 | Blog, Tips & Tricks

Every—I Repeat, Every—Artist Faces Rejection

No artist receives a hero’s welcome every time they show an art piece. We all ask how to handle our artwork being rejected, which shows that rejection in an artist’s life is everywhere! But rejection does not have to be what breaks your creative spirit. Read on for our best artist tips—and advice from Mastrius Art Show Curator Samantha Williams-Chapelsky—for when you face rejection in your own artistic journey.

“I have been showing and exhibiting my work in the art world for over 18 years and rejection still hits hard. But how you handle rejection will shape your experiences within the art community.”. —Samantha Williams-Chapelsky

Reasons for Rejection as an Artist are Endless

No matter how well-connected or talented you are, everyone gets rejected in art. The art world can be competitive and opportunities are limited. It’s important to realize that competition often plays a role in being rejected. To improve your odds, use rejection as fuel to improve

Also remember that rejection can be based on subjective opinions—as is true with all art showing, buying, and curating. People have different tastes, and juries, being composed of people, are the same. 

Rejection can even come from a simple lack of opportunity at that moment to showcase your style or theme. The reasons for rejection are endless.

Treat Artist Rejection as a Good Sign

Samantha-Williams Chapelsky shares that, “One of the biggest phrases I have kept with me is from artist Jackie Battenfield, who states, ‘If I am not being regularly rejected, it means I am not pursuing opportunities.’” Use your rejection letters as proof to yourself that you are embracing your career and your calling. You’re not giving up. You are moving forward and you are doing the hard work of being an artist.

“I am aiming for as many rejections as I can get because that means I am giving my career my all. It is certainly not without its disappointment and hurt, but it is also an opportunity in some instances to learn and grow from given feedback.” —Samantha Williams-Chapelsky

When You Feel Rejected, Don’t Burn Your Bridges

Rejection stings, but your dignity and reputation in the art world matter, so protect them. Don’t harm relationships in the heat of emotion. The reasons for artist rejection are many, and those reasons can easily change over time. Art is a long game, play it well.

“We will all face disappointments in the art world, and it is okay to let them sink in. But handle these feelings reasonably, limit the blame, and find a process to move on. Channel those feelings into productive work and get back to painting.” —Samantha Williams-Chapelsky