I began this drawing in February. It was to be the fourth work in my series of phobically themed compositions that have spanned over a decade. Pteronophobic Turtle was the first in the series. The original was proudly displayed in Michigan’s governor’s mansion for a year and a half. Globophobic Porcupine was next. This piece won the CPSA award for Exceptional Achievement in 2008, the Alden B. Dow Museum Merit award and Solo Exhibition award in 2009, the Youngman Graphic Arts award in the Muskegon Museum of Art’s Regional art show, and Best Of Show in the Lowell West Michigan Art Regional Competition. Hydrophobic Otter earned the CPSA award for Exceptional Achievement, the Martin Maddox Prize for Imaginative Realism in the Kalamazoo Institute of Art 2010 West Michigan show, and Best of Show in the Lowell West Michigan Regional Competition. Entering competitions such as those listed above can be very motivating, or disappointing. An artist has to have thick skin.
I began placing the creation of my own art work into a place of higher priority approximately 13 years ago. Besides carving large chunks of time out of my schedule, I’ve also invested money, energy and space in my home into the endeavor. My first goal was to produce a couple of drawings reflecting the ideas that were coming to mind. I accomplished this over the course of a summer. Next, I wanted to have some work presented in a gallery or two, and found them in Saugatuck and Harbor Springs, MI. The final step to feeling “official” was to enhance my rather limited resume. A colleague suggested a few competitions, and I decided to enter. I was surprised how well my work was usually received, which gave me confidence and some much needed financial return to help defray the cost of entering. The process of “acceptance” or “denial” served as a reminder as to how my students felt when their artwork was or was not placed in showcases or art shows. Funny how life events can provide positive or negative consequences.
I completed “The Lepidopterophobic Rhinoceros” just in time to enter into the Muskegon Museum of Art’s highly prestigious state wide competition. I devoted over 350 hours of the most intense drawing I’ve ever attempted to meet the deadline. When the “declined” notification arrived in the mail it was a sock to the gut. Good thing I have a well insulated 6 pack of abs to absorb the blow. Actually, it was felt acutely. So much so, that I couldn’t even look at the drawing for days. How childish of me to suddenly feel like a failure. Eventually, it was time to put on my big boy American Eagle cargo shorts, my tennis shoes and favorite tee shirt, take a swig of Mountain Dew, buy myself an ice cream cone, and take another look at the drawing I invested most of my summer to. I loved it! I saw it with new, honest eyes and was proud of my accomplishment.
I decided to “get back on the bike” and submit the piece to another competition. The Lepidopterophobic Rhinoceros has been accepted into the 25th Annual Canton Fine Arts Exhibition! The piece will be delivered next week and the show will run from October 6 through November 4.
Limited edition giclee prints of the piece will soon be available online at a discounted price for a limited in time if you are interested. It will be offered in two sizes.
Thanks for reading, and please forgive me for my childishness and pride.... Not very becoming.