There’s no way around it. Art must take risks and risk risks rejection. Is rejection the dark side of art?

You throw your soul on the page, on the canvas, in the work, and then you stand all naked and vulnerable while the gatekeeper says yah or nay. Mostly nay. Even when you’re good, you get lots of rejection.

I just got a doozy. The person rejected my work–and told me I was an enormously gifted writer. Apparently they were either being over-the-top polite or being gifted isn’t enough. Both, I suspect.

Art is oftentimes cutting edge. It’s new. Fresh. Startling. This isn’t always accepted. While art is constantly changing and asking more of us, the world tends to want to reproduce what has already been established. It’s an emperor’s clothes “me, too,” mentality. And yet when something new catches on, it’s wildfire.

Vincent Van Gogh suffered this fate. He wasn’t a realist. He wasn’t an impressionist, so what was he? The art world wasn’t willing to take a chance. He died in 1890, and yet look what came next–Picasso, Matisse, and the ushering in of modern art. Vincent was in many ways the guy who cracked the door.

The other aspect of selling art is the market. What’s selling? Are you, the artist marketable? Is your art hitting the market at just the right time?

It’s kismet. It’s preparation meets opportunity meets timing.

So much you as an artist will never be in control of.

The only thing you’re in control of is the choice to create what stirs your soul. To stay true to you. To be flexible. To be on the edge–your edge. To challenge yourself. To question.

And then to present yourself and your art to the world.

Yes, you have to put it all out there. Put all of you out there.

Dark or not, risk is the only way.