Thursday, September 24, 2015

Do People Ignore Your Work?

Last week I posted one of my most popular blog posts ever, called Successful Artists and Their Critics, Trolls and Doubters. When I was preparing the post, asking artists to tell me their stories, one of the people I queried was Scott Brundage. He didn't have an anecdote for my blog post, but he did have some very wise words that I thought were worth sharing:
For whatever reason, I can’t really recall a negative or mean portfolio review or direct comment on my work. That’s not to say people have loved me forever, I just think that by whatever twist of fate, by the time I was trying to show my work professionally, instead of telling me I was bad, I’d get, essentially, silence.
For instance, I applied to the SVA grad program right out of school and was rejected. Or I’d show my book to a prospective client, and get a “thank you” then never hear from them again. Same with 99% of emails, the bulk of my postcard mailings, attempts at online social media engagement, ignored submissions to competitions, etc. I wonder if I would have preferred a straight up negative review or online troll, then at least I’d have a villain to try to get past. Instead, for years, I felt like I was toiling for work no one cared about or wanted to see. And, with that comes a boatload of self doubt and discouragement. When you question your finances every month for years on end, you start to question your life choices.

I just decided that I’d have to make work no one could ignore. I’d have to make work that, no matter what, I was proud to see leave the studio. That shift came in the form of spending a whole lot more time on work, producing a lot more of it, and always forcing myself to start something new. I changed my goal from simply trying to do a successful illustration to attempting something so ambitious that I wasn’t sure if i could pull it off. I’d heard successful artists talk about the idea of either having a glorious success or a glorious failure and I forced myself to adopt that mindset.
- Scott Brundage 
Scott's work has been recognized by The Society of Illustrators 57, American Illustration 29, Spectrum 19, 20 and won a Silver award in Spectrum Fantastic Art 18. His paintings have been seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Scientific American, Tor Books, AARP, The Weekly Standard, The Washington Post and many others.

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