As an artist, early on I had to learn to accept the customariness of disappointment. I suppose we all have to conform to this in life, artist or not – but as a creative person, who places their heart and soul out on a string, dangling it before its audience – this may in fact be a somewhat difficult task indeed. Rejection from a gallery, colleague, family member or alien being will always weigh heavier in the hearts of artists who express themselves for a living. But with strength, perseverance and persistence, life can and will go on and on and on.
I recently sought funding for a personal creative project on Kickstarter. I did as I usually do in circumstances related to my personal work and waited until the last minute to actually market it. And even then, I didn’t have the time to truly place 100% into the request for funds. (This is typical for me, however, as I thrive on the creative process and I’m not good at asking for coffers) Needless to say, the project had a time limit, ticking away. When the deadline came, I had accumulated pledges of 15% of my goal and funding was unsuccessful. So I walked away with a bruise and a dream.
This didn’t stop me, though. Within a few hours, I brought to life the same project. Resurrected from the ashes of my undying vision and stellar determination, I created the project on IndieGoGo. I immediately started creating all these quirky ads with classic movie themes and plenty of Star Wars and Star Trek references (and a Galaxy Quest one stating their catch phrase, “Never give up, Never surrender!”). I didn’t let failure stop me – I stood up and started over. And even though only one pledge from the original project came over to the new one, I continue on.
It’s this drive, this determination that makes us successful creatures of art. If every artist threw away their brushes every time they were turned down – there would be no art in the world. The world would be quite a boring and dismal place. Imagine if your motivation was dependent solely on the love of others. Admiration and affection are inherently needed, yes – but our inventiveness runs richer than that. Our inspiration comes from a place deep within us. A place that we openly and willingly share with the world.
What I’ve been trying to get at here is this: Don’t let failure discourage you. In fact, don’t let the word ‘failure’ even have meaning in your life. The definition of failure should be, “an opportunity to do something better.” So no matter who tells you, “no” or turns you and your work away – no matter how many projects are unsuccessful or underfunded… find the energy within you to create something new, or simply start over. It doesn’t necessarily mean that your idea was a bad one… it just wasn’t the right time. And tomorrow always looks good to me.
Never give up; never surrender; always create.
Remember: grow; learn; conserve; preserve; create; question; educate; change; and free your mind.
About: Kelli Klymenko is an artist, a faculty member and the Marketing & Events Coordinator at Sedona Arts Center: a gathering place where artists can learn, teach, and exhibit their works at the center’s School of the Arts and Fine Art Gallery in uptown Sedona.