Elephant in the room; as I’m writing this the World is (hopefully) performing self-quarantining, handwashing, and social-distancing. I completely understand the irony of discussing what I am about to discuss while everyone (again, hopefully) is being reclusive and hermit-like. To anyone who doesn’t think they are creative or artistic, congratulations, you are now living like you are.
Sorry, not sorry. That is my apology-but-not-apology for who I am right now in my life. There are a lot of people that think I am at a point in my career where I can call my own shots with my art. I have a really supportive community of people who appreciate my work, buy my work, share my work, and champion me. As a result, I feel very humbled and proud, however, it is still something I do in my free time and, spoiler alert, my free time is about as thin as a sheet of loose-leaf college ruled paper. I have a full-time day job, I’m a husband and a father, and I have a home that we love, and that is just the tip of the climate-changing iceberg.
Without going into an ordered list of my priorities I think you get the picture that I, like you, have a lot of stuff going on in my life. And I am adult enough to admit that that will always be the case. This is something that artists/creatives struggle with all the time. When you look at one of our paintings, see our improv, hear one of our poems, or play one of our songs, you’re not just seeing the efforts of our creative mind, you’re also witnessing our survival. We love doing this. We love doing this so much that we’re willing to work 50+ hours a week just so we can do this whether we make money or not. We’re also trying to remember to eat food, feed the dog, watch Netflix, support a charity, and pay you back for lunch on Venmo. It’s a lot.
I’m telling you this because I want you to better understand why you don’t always see artists out. Why you don’t see us at concerts. Why we don’t make it to dinner all the time. Why we’re mostly only reachable through text or Facebook messages. We’re trying. Believe me, we’re trying. But we’re also trying to make our dreams come true. We’re working so hard on something that we are willing to forego the weekly drinks together. We’re willing to miss out on going to see that new movie because we’re in the studio. We are working hard to prioritize our life and what we absolutely can make time for. This does not mean you are not important to us. It just means we’re making sure that light doesn’t go out.
I’m still here, even if you can’t see me, and I haven’t forgotten about you.
Submissions are due January 13th for the 25th juried exhibition of New Waves, an annual exhibition featuring Virginia artists. If you’re looking to grow as an artist you should apply, because there’s a good chance you won’t get in.
You read that last line correctly. Not getting into a show like New Waves is a great opportunity for you to evolve as an artist. It would be great to get in. I was lucky to have a piece selected in 2018 and was even given an Honorable Mention award. However, before that, I had been rejected at least five times. Getting rejected from shows, fellowships, grants, proposals, exhibitions, etc. is a part of being an artist. Rejection is a part of being any kind of creative. Putting yourself out there and then learning that there is someone out there that doesn’t like what you’re doing or doesn’t like you as much as someone else helps you realize that you are not going to please everyone. If you’re making your work because you’re focused on your narrative, voice, vision, etc., you can better emotionally separate yourself from the idea of someone not liking your work.
This year’s juror is Susan Thompson, an Associate Curator at the Guggenheim Museum. Someone from the Guggenheim will be looking at your work. Whether she selects your work for the show or not, you have an opportunity to have someone’s undivided attention on your creation for a few seconds who sees some of the most well-known artists in the world. Take that opportunity and appreciate what’s happening there. Celebrate your vulnerability.
Who knows, maybe someone will like what you’re making. Maybe even someone who works at the Guggenheim. Apply here by midnight, January 13, 2020
Last week I put on a solo show during Norfolk's 2018 NEON Festival entitled Fear of Acceptance: new works by Carl Floyd Medley III. It was an amazing experience. We had great attendance, drinks, music and a lot of really great positive energy. I couldn't have accomplished it without the help of Fang Gang partner Charles Rasputin and Careyann Weinberg of Alchemy. Also, thanks to my wife Liane, who helped me stay focused during the buildup tot the show and helped me move a ton of merch during. She is my everything. Stay tuned for more new works in the coming weeks.
About the Show:
After being awarded a 2017 professional fellowship in painting from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Carl Medley immediately set out on his most aggressive art campaign to date by applying to group exhibitions, gallery proposals, mural ideas, etc., each one ultimately resulting in rejection. From this experience Carl created a body of work that explores the rejection process as both reflection and motivation. Fear of Acceptance featuring new works by Carl Floyd Medley III is a two-sided coin: fear from a community in accepting work that creates its own narrative outside of the status quo and fear from an artist who has found comfort in being an outsider.