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Monday, March 21, 2011


How do you handle rejection?  Is personal rejection different than professional rejection? If so do you react differently?
In my case it's artistic rejection, and I do not like it. Today I received my very nicely written rejection email from The American Academy in Rome.  It went something like this:
Dear Serena Van Vranken,

Thank you for your application for a Rome Prize fellowship. When the jury met recently, they carefully considered your application materials. I am writing to inform you, on behalf of the American Academy in Rome, that the jury did not recommend you for a fellowship in Visual Arts.

Academy juries change every year, and a previous application in no way compromises your chances of winning a future fellowship. We hope that you will consider applying again, as many Rome Prize Fellows have applied more than once before being selected.

I guess I was more delusional than I imagined, as I am really disappointed. And was secretly putting off making some decisions until I heard from them. Now what? 

The AAR gets hundreds of applicants each year.  most of the winners are professors or are pretty far along in their careers but I was still hoping. It was a sort of tough application - you must have all the usual stuff plus an essay outlining your project.  Basically my project was painting the modern Roman in ancient Rome.  I'm intrigued by how old the city is and how modern man functions with in it.  I was excited to paint ancient architecture with the everyday modern men and woman interacting with it. Guess I'll start thinking about a stronger concept for a project!  

I haven't talked too much about my oil painting on this blog. Some of you may not even know I'm an oil painter.  Here are the photos I sent for the application process.
I hope you'll take a moment to check them out!  I apologize that I'm not able to post any photos from the computer I'm working on at this time.

Thanks for listening to me whine.  Sweet dreams.

ps. It occurs to me, now that I am posting this publicly, that for me embarrassment follows rejection. But I'm sharing it anyway.  As this is what I've promised this blog is about.  Trials and tribulations.


Robin said...

I'm so sorry they didn't pick you because I know you wanted it!
I'm so proud of all you've done and how you just keep getting better all the time! At prints,oils,and everything you do! Try not to feel rejected just be proud that you are good enough to enter! And you are very good!
Your biggest fan!
Love You,

Molly said...

So proud of you! One step closer to getting EXACTLY what you need! :)

Jennifer Tetlow said...

We all hate rejection - its horrible - it makes me incredulous (why didn't they pick me!), then angry, then upset, then probably depresssed. But not for long, it tends to add metal to my resolve. When I've got over all the emotional hoopla, I try to learn from it and respond positively. It just give me deepened determination and opens other doors. It will do for you too!

Nancy Cuevas said...

They suck!!

this means you were meant to go to the Abby Ryah retreat! ;)

Tavi said...

clearly their taste is lacking! You would have blown them away. Maybe they were just intimidated :) You're an incredible artist, Serena. There's something that most people don't know about us strange, whimsical artist types: we're made from tempered steel. One day the stuffy, pretentious types at the American Academy in Rome are going to be blinded by your genius, and then imagine how embarrassed they'll be about turning your down this time.

hoffee and a nuffin said...

So sorry for the rejection, but I think sometimes it's a good thing. Sure it hurts, but it will make you a stronger person in the end and the next time you apply you may have so much in you to really sweep them off their feet. NEVER GIVE UP. Keep finding ways to improve (as we all have some room for improvement.) Always do the best job you know you can and don't let the opinions of others bring you down.

Mom is right: Be proud that you are good enough to enter :)

Sam said...

Rejection always sucks. The hard part is not letting it prevent you from moving forward. I checked out some of your paintings on the link you added and they were amazing. This just wasn't the thing that you needed to be doing at this time. life has this amazing way of getting us to where we need to be and opening all the right doors for us at the right time even if we don't know it.
Keep your head up and keep on going. You have an amazing talent.

Anonymous said...

with as much talent as you've got i think something great will come your way. i don't handle rejection well when i get my hopes up so i try not to. lately i've been getting annoyed with going to job interviews, thinking i did really awesome and i hear nothing back. not cool! so yes, agitation ensues. :P

Jennifer said...

I'm sorry about Rome, I know you put alot of effort into that submission and it will all work it's way out some how. I think you are lucky that you have so much support around you and the talent within you rather than lonely and talentless.....Was there specifically Roman stuff on that intention jar or just art and travel, hmmm, something is in the wings, I know it!!!!

AnniePod said...

I would not take rejection from a fellowship too personally. The important thing is that you tried. Fabulous paintings!!! Had no idea!!

Almost Monday said...

Thank you everyone for the very lovely words of encouragement! I was shocked to see all the comments! It's certainly nice to know I'm not just talking to myself here! hehe

I received another rejection letter today for a job I applied to yesterday. I must say, immediate rejection is a little bit better. :)

Thanks again! Your words really mean a lot!