Alaskan Artist - Elise Tomlinson
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06/30/2006: "I am La Loba, I hunt alone!"

I just dropped off an application packet to compete for a solo exhibit at the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council Gallery, one of the most coveted places to exhibit in Juneau.

I hit some speed bumps along the way, my color printer ran out of ink and I didnít leave myself enough time to take my images to the print shop so I had to submit them in a permissible (but undesirable) format. Also, I came to the shocking realization that I donít have high resolution images of most of the finished pieces that sold during my last show! Several are already out of the state so now what?

Sometimes I think Iím really getting my shit together and then I have these major set-backs. I wasnít sure I was even going to apply because if I donít get selected Iíll feel horrible and if I do get selected Iíll have to work my ass off to produce another show, especially because itís such a large space. Rob just had a show there in May and how many pieces did you have? Thirty I think! Thatís fairly intimidating.

Another strike against me is that they had a checkbox asking if Iíd be OK sharing the space with another artist with complimentary work and I checked NO! The last time I did that was a nightmare, mostly to my ego because everyone preferred the other artistís work over mine. Still, saying ďnoĒ makes me come across as a prima donna and really Iím notÖI just canít handle any more damage to my fragile self-esteem.

You can tell by all of my rationalizations over why I may not get selected (because god knows it *couldn't* be because of the work itself...right? right?) that I've developed a fairly sophisticated defense system against rejection. Because we all just adore being rejected right? It's one of the most entertaining parts of being an artist. WHEEEEEE!

I should know by the end of July

Replies: 14 Comments

on Friday, June 30th, Kasia said

I really liked the story with the printer, although it was not funny for you:) But it sounded like a movie scene. And why do all these happen only when they are totally unwanted??? I have no idea, but i know such situations from my life.
P.S. you won't be rejected! Keep your head up:)))

on Friday, June 30th, holly said

I think you'll get over that prima donna feeling eventually if checking "no" becomes your standard answer. It'll just be one of the conditions of your exhibitions and you should be comfortable with that and not look at it as protection for your fragile self-esteem. Come on, boost yourself up there!

Good luck!

on Friday, June 30th, Cody said

Another strike against me is that they had a checkbox asking if Iíd be OK sharing the space with another artist with complimentary work and I checked NO!

Maybe it's just my warped view of reality, but I don't see anything egotistical at all about you wanting to show your work alone.

I assume the business side of the art world to be rather burdensome for an artist but unavoidable, so isn't it in your best interest to have the audience focused on your work instead of someone else's?

on Friday, June 30th, Elise said

Hi Kasia! You know you're right, it wasn't funny for me...
but I still got the damn thing turned in on time so that's something. I think trying has it's own rewards, even if it doesn't end up turning out the way you'd hoped. What would be a similar situation from your life?

And Holly, I guess it is a mind-set and if I'm going to go a certain way than I should feel comfortable with it, though at this point I can't say that I do. Hopefully that will come (someday)...

thanks to both of you for the "virtual" boost!

on Friday, June 30th, Elise said

Hey cody, I missed your post just now, or maybe we were posting at the same time...but you're right, it is in the artist's best interest to show alone...particularly when your styles don't work well together or when the other artist undercuts you, pricing similarly sized pieces for half as much!

Realities of the market place, and if you care about selling your work at all you can't be blind to the business side of things.

btw cody, have you seen An Inconvenient Truth yet?

on Friday, June 30th, Cody said

No, I haven't seen it yet. I rarely make it to the movies nowadays. Instead, I usually wait for the them to come out on DVD. It's less bothersome that way.

Since we're recommending things, have you checked out the latest issue of Wired? There's a great article in the back that discusses a new theory of creativity. David Galenson, an economist from the University of Chicago, claims there are two types of creative people: conceptualists and experimentalists. He compares and contrasts the two personality types while using examples from the art world, such as Picasso (conceptualist) and Cezanne (experimentalist). Fascinating stuff.

on Saturday, July 1st, Elise said

I subscribe to Wired but the new issue has been sitting out in my car all week...the article sounds really intriguing though, I think I'll run out and grab it now.

on Saturday, July 1st, Elise said

ah damn, the issue in my car was from June, the article must be in the July issue and I haven't received mine yet...

on Saturday, July 1st, RR said

I sympathise with the running out of ink. My printer did the same before assessments and the digital art bit became very expensive! Re the check box, think I'd tick the "No" as well.

on Saturday, July 1st,">willow said

Elise, I see nothing wrong with wanting to have a solo show. As an artist, there is nothing egotistical about wanting to showcase just your work. You want to make an impact with your own paintings! If it were a group show, that's a different story. But "sharing" the show with one other artist, in my opinion, can be confusing and distracting for the viewers. And from what I see on your site here, your paintings seem quite bold and colorful and really make a clear statement! Put yourself first! It's ok!!!

I used to work in a gallery, and I think either the solo show or an entire group show with a common theme seems to work out best!

As for the running out of ink, we all try to squeeze the last "drop" out of those cartridges! But maybe you can make yourself an application "kit", where you keep all items together that you use when applying for a show, and make sure you always have an emergency stash if in stowed away in the kit too! It just makes life easier and less stressful when things are a bit more organized! (Now if only I would listen to my own advice!)

When will you hear if you are accepted for the show?

And cody, that article in Wired sounds interesting. I'll check it out at the library next week. I'm always interested in people's creative processes. I think about creating things all the time, but just don't seem to take the next step to actually follow through. Help!

on Saturday, July 1st, willow said

That last post should have read "stash of ink stowed away"

Clumsy fingers!

on Saturday, July 1st, Elise said

Hi RR! Your story reminds me of something similar that happened to me during my BFA was supposed to be 2 of us exhibiting in a very large university gallery. The other artist was doing digital art and I was doing intaglio and mono prints. She kept putting off the things she was responsible for, like designing and ordering the postcards etc. She told me ONE WEEK before our opening that she was not going to be able to be in the show!

Turns out she had a problem printing out her work and decided to have her opening in the computer lab with a different image up on each monitor...which left me with a *huge* space to fill, by myself.

I totally freaked out but in the end it was OK because in the front of the gallery I exhibited all the matrixes that I used to create the paintings, so I had the actual copper sheets I etched, or carved wood blocks for the block prints, I had made one print from a plaster cast of a computer mother board so I displayed that too, and plexiglass with ghosting from the monoprints...and I had a brief explanation of the process. The prints that the matrixes had made were displayed in the second half of the gallery. People seemed to love it so, lemonade from lemons right?

And Willow, I'm going to take your advice about adding ink cartridges to my exhibition kit...why hadn't I thought of that? I use my printer for everything, business cards, title cards, etc.

Also, you're right about group shows being different, I don't mind a group show because the joo joo is totally different. I loved the other artist's work too, it was just that she used colors and a style that made my work look brash and flat when seen together.

Also, when you say you're interested in other people's creative processes, but need help following through, do you mean that you want to do more of your own artistic work? If that's the case, no time like the present. Just treat yourself to some nice materials and go crazy!

on Saturday, July 1st, berry bowman connell said

Yeah, there's one of the
diffs between you n me.
When approached by the
Torntown Art Center
for a show, and it's
still in its first year, they asked me if I'de
care if there was
another person
"itzok wi'me"
Then I find she's an
abstractionist, and
at m'April Show,
the two abstractionists
get a way lot more sales
than me, but....
more folks get t'see m'stuff
that wouldn't normally
even know who I is....

Me thinks that, during this, our early years, we shouldn't be picky.
The other person has
folks coming t'see their
stuff, and would
get to see yers.

Later, when we is famous...
and we will be famous one day,
the place will know better
than t'ask ya at all,
knowing that yer such
a big draw, they don't
need anybody else....

I just hope I can
figure out a way t'get
up to that part of the
world in time
to see your stuff
and maybe, if
I'm lucky, to actually
meet you, too.

Meanwhile, being
on the other end of that stick,
and that is, having
thirty pieces
or more and only
one silly lil show
this summer, I'm trying t'figure
how t'get up other

on Saturday, July 1st, Elise said

Hi Berry, I agree that we should take as many exhibition opportunities as possible while trying to build a following, and I will exhibit just about anywhere that will have me...but I agree with Willow that being in a group show is a different experience than being in a show with only one other artist. There's something about that that I just don't like...maybe it's just me personally but I'd rather have a solo in a less desirable gallery than to be in a joint show somewhere great.

But, that's just me.