Wednesday, January 17, 2007


originally uploaded by robin kibby.

Seeing a hand-addressed oversized yellow envelope poking out of the mailbox, activated my "real mail" radar. With excitement, I mounted the front steps, hands clenched around two full grocery bags. Not only was there personal mail, but a lot of it. Paper filled the depth of the box in a way that exceeded the normal bulk ads and credit card applications. This may be a day of good correspondence! My mind turned to distant friends, forgotton purchases, and the recent grad school applications sent out. But after climbing step three or four, excitement turned to suspicion. I had seen this envelope before - recognized the familiar crease where the yellow sleeve was once folded and tucked in a larger one and the double row of outdated santa stamps. And the clincher, the address lettered in my own hand. Not easy to spot at first, since it was a tidier effort on my part, but sure enough this was a note from the me of the past to me of the now. Which can only mean one thing to an artist - the return journey of a SASE. Inside was my a sheet of my precious, carefully labeled slides, and a form letter.
I set down both bags, and approached the mailbox. Seemed unlikely to me that a "yes" would be returned using my own postage, but it's possible. I opened the envelope, recognized the logo as a gallery I was excited about, and optimistic that I could get into, and saw the "thanks... but unfortunately."
My first rejection. My reaction was similar to when I taco'd my bike wheel on the side of a moving car and somersaulted onto the cement of a quiet city neighborhood. "Oh yeah... I am ok" and then melt into tears 20 minutes later.
I have a book on art business that suggest the artists has not truly "tried" to get gallery representation until collecting 100 rejection letters. While I don't interpret this as inspirational, I can take it as a benchmark for what measures a true effort to show and sell art. Day number one of skin thickening, nearly completed.

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