Last March, I sat on the Humble Arts Foundation Panel on Women in Art Photography. It meant a great deal to me at the time, because I had just missed the age cut off for the 31 under 31 show, and I felt Jon & Amani were doing their best to find a way to include me. At the time of the panel, I had only ever shown my work to one gallery, I had never won anything or been accepted to any of the contests or events that pervade the emerging artist scene, and I had never been to a portfolio review. I remember feeling an overwhelming sense of embarrassment, as I sat at the end of the table, while Amy Stein read each of my fellow panelists bios, which were filled with exhibits, gallery representation, and awards. But after the talk, I felt really good, being part of the event changed my confidence. So many people came up and expressed how they related to things I had said, and asked me questions about me work. It was the turning point for me, and for my photo career.
Meeting Amy Stein there was empowering, she very generously encouraged me to start going to portfolio reviews, including the Powerhouse one, which is how I got into my first group show in Chelsea. Before speaking to her, other than having a direct gallery appointment, I really did not have any idea of how to get my work out there, she gave me invaluable advice at a crucial time. It means so much to me, that I will be in a the “Things are Strange” group show with her opening this week. I also remember that Amy had just won the Critical Mass contest, which I had never even heard of before. She told me that I should enter this year.
It is funny sometimes how the universe works. I know there were several other people asked to speak on that Humble panel and they were unavailable. I will never know where I was on the list of choices. But I ended up on it, however it happened. I just made this year’s Critical Mass finalists, and as you have probably read from my blog, this fall has been a financial fuck fest, pardon my French. Three group shows, that needed to be printed and framed, plus the art in odd places event, and oh yes, the weekend in Atlanta for the portfolio review there. It has been all about $$$$$. So as excited as I am about Critical Mass, I was lamented how I would pay the $200 fee, even though of course I was so happy to have been selected.
But sometimes, the universe helps you. Last month I got an email out of the blue from French magazine requesting one of my images for a special issue on medicine. As most of you may know, getting paid usage fees is often a long process. But this morning as I was having stress attack about paying my entrance fee, lo & behold the money arrived from France. There is something to be said for the ways in which the universe supports you. When you take risks and really put yourself out there, if you are on the right path, often it seems like the support you need materializes. Conversely, when you are doing the wrong thing, it seem like the entire world is conspiring against you. I know this all sounds like a bit of new age mumbo jumbo, but this year, I have had it proved to me over and over again.
I read somewhere once, that “God does not ignore your prayers, it is just that sometimes the answer is NO.” While I am not religious, I guess there is something to that idea. We don’t and cannot always get what we want, but that is often because it is not what we really need. Of course there are instances in life that fall outside of this, illness, death of a loved etc. But it is something to keep in mind, when you get rejected from art stuff. And also, when you win.
So thank you Courier International, not only for including me in your beautifully produced magazine, but for making it possible for me to be a part of the next round of Critical Mass