Many of my blog posts are about my crazy misadventures. I don’t write a blog to brag about an allegedly perfect life, complete with airbrushed photos. Nope, I try to keep it real here.
That having been said, I hope this won’t seem like a brag fest, but I’m excited to share the news that I am a runner-up in a local art contest. Allow me to share the back story, because I always find the back story just as interesting as the result.
|Here is my cover. I didn't cover all the white space, but I like the contrast between white and the bright colors.|
|If you live in San Diego, Readers will be available for another day or so. I'm on page 15!|
Twenty years ago, in my early days as a struggling artist, I picked up the San Diego Reader magazine every Thursday. I’d scan the alphabetical classified ads for art jobs. Every once in a while there was an ad posted for artists, but oftentimes there was nothing between Aquarium and Assistant. This was before I had a home computer, before Craigslist came to San Diego, and before social media helped artists to show their work. So the Reader was a way to look for work and to read about exhibits of other artists’ work. It was also FREE, and did I mention that I was a struggling artist? When you are a struggling artist and every single dollar counts, free magazines are appreciated.
Although I don’t search for art jobs in the Reader anymore, it’s still a magazine I look at for the local human interest stories and news about events in San Diego. It’s the offbeat cousin to the more upscale local magazines, and I love that it doesn’t cater to a privileged crowd. The Reader keeps it real.
A month ago the cover of the Reader was blank—literally an empty canvas, announcing a contest for creating the cover. As you know, I don’t do things half way, so I did not one cover but ten. I kept all ten to a color scheme of turquoise, red and yellow, because I envisioned all ten working together. At night, I’d work on my covers for a few minutes, and it was therapeutic. It helped me unwind. And I decided that whether my cover was picked or not, it was worth my time and effort because the contest prompted me to create something unusual and imaginative, and that’s always a good thing. I ended up submitting five designs. Most were abstract. The one they chose had a mix of designs, influenced by the Moroccan arches I love, and by Mexican tile design—with a dash of this and that thrown in.
|Here is my cover, partly completed.|
Yesterday I received an email that I’d been awarded a prize as a runner up. Today I picked up a copy of The Reader and I was delighted and surprised to see my art and name in print. (I wasn’t sure that the runners up would be printed.) If I counted right, there were more than 170 submissions. I’m okay with not winning the contest. It honestly feels awesome to be in the top five!
|This is one of the covers I submitted. It includes nine of my ten designs, working together as a whole.|
Will this change my career, or my life in general? No. Prizes aren't my motivation. But at the same time, I am feeling happy that my art has been recognized. It isn’t easy trying to forge a career in the arts. It’s hard to deal with the rejection when you put so much heart and soul into what you do. For me, there is no separation between what I make and who I am, so rejection feels personal. I’ve applied for many art related jobs over the years, submitted proposals for public art, and entered art shows and contests, and usually my art was not accepted. Being passed by when I’d done my best has hurt my ego—I won’t lie. Finding a way to make a living in the arts has been a lot harder than I thought it would be. So on a day like this, seeing my art in print, it feels good.
I hope this post hasn’t been too boastful. Believe me, future posts will revert to my usual subject matter of crazy moments and embarrassing tales. But I don’t think it’s wrong to share the triumphant moments once in a while. Life isn’t easy, and I think it’s good to grab hold of the happy moments and to squeeze as much joy from them as we can.