RMG Exposed

I was feeling pretty good about the art that I was creating. Maybe a little too good.

The Robert McLaughlin Gallery in Oshawa Ontario holds an annual event called RMG Exposed where they ask artists to submit works and then a jury of art influencers select pieces that will be sold in an art auction in late November. All proceeds from the sale of those pieces of art go to help fund free local arts programs.

From their website:

RMG Exposed is a fine art photography auction and all around good time in support of free arts programming for kids, families, and those who face obstacles accessing art.

I thought: “heck ya” this is a perfect opportunity to get my photographs in a gallery setting and get noticed, all the while help raise money for a good cause. This was a perfect opportunity to show that I could produce art relating to a cohesive story (in this case, the thoughts, feelings and interactions that come with uprooting your entire life for a new beginning). It was win/win! Or so I thought. Here are the three images I selected and submitted to the competition:

And here is the short synopsis of the theme associated with me producing these images:

Looking at life through a fogged lens, landscapes become swirls of elaborate thoughts; primitive shapes full of bends and blurred lines. Fragments of a life once lived, now all but a distant memory, faded and lost. It’s not all blue skies and calm seas when making the closet bare once again. The grass is definitely greener on the other side, especially when you are escaping the hard concrete of the big city. Notfromhere is an exploration of a new home, a new life and all the thoughts and feelings (both good and bad) that come with breaking old bonds and replacing them with entirely new opportunities.

I unfortunately didn’t get any of these images selected by the jury. I felt pretty bummed when I received the email from the curator of the gallery:

We received an overwhelming response this year, making the Jury’s job very difficult!  Of the 350 submissions, the Jury was tasked with selecting 40 works. Unfortunately, this year your work was not selected as a finalist. We would like to thank you for your efforts and encourage you to enter more RMG competitions and calls in the future.

It was hard to take that even when a gallery was looking for submissions of donated artwork to sell, they didn’t see my images as profitable enough to select. Feelings of inadequacy started to creep back in. This photography topic is so personal to me and it was a total letdown to get the response back that I did. I know that not everyone is going to see art in the same way. I also know that not everyone is going to resonate with my photographs the same way that I do. But rejection in any form can be difficult to hear, even when you understand why you were rejected in the first place.

So I need to turn this negative into a positive. I took a chance and submitted some work to a competition. Heck, I’m even being open and honest about these thoughts and feelings on my blog for seemingly all to see/read. I think I need to continue to explore this type of work in hopes the pieces I produce will only get better. I need to keep reminding myself that it’s not the end result that’s the goal here, it’s going through the process itself and putting in the time to do the work. The only way I will continue to grow as a person (and as an artist) is if I continue to put in the hours, one day at a time.

One step at a time.

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