Manda Maggs

Manda Maggs, Penticton BC

The value of "Failure"

Ok, so remember way back when I described the struggle of putting my art up at a show? Well, it didn't sell. I failed...and I have realized that I am okay with that. Let me tell you why. 

 Taste the failure. Embrace it.  

Taste the failure. Embrace it.  

Initially, I was pretty disappointed that not a single painting of mine had sold - I thought I had priced them fairly, the subject matter was equally interesting, tasteful, and broadly appealing. It was a rainy day, and I didn't bother to cover them on my way to the car. I tossed them in the back seat irreverently, I could hear them sliding across the seat as I turned into the roundabout. I guess I was punishing them for not being good enough. When I got home and set them on the kitchen table I looked at them again and remembered a thought I'd expressed in my previous post entitled "The Struggle"

A large part of it is classic rejection syndrome, I suppose. If I put three pieces of art in the sale and they all end up sitting there until I come and pick them up on the final day of the show, that means no one wanted them. My art. Me.

It took two glasses of wine and a soak in a bathtub full of bubbles and self-pity to realize that I was actually fairly relieved that my art had come back home to me. I also had some time to think about how honoured I was just to be able to put them up on the wall of the Penticton Art Gallery. I remembered how grateful I was for all the nice things people said to me on the soup bowls night, and how nice it was receiving compliments from unexpected sources - coworkers, customers, and friends who recognized my work and took time out of their day to make sure that I knew they liked it. What a fantastic opportunity it was.

No, the paintings didn't sell.

Yes, I have learned from the experience. So many things. 

I learned how to price a piece of art, and how to let go of them. I learned that I am still developing and will never achieve 'the singularity' with my art - that's not what art is. I remembered that I can be excited about producing art again, and I remember now how much I enjoy the process. The end result is great, but I really, really love the expression and experimentation. 

So the next time I have an opportunity to throw my paintings up in a gallery I won't be so apprehensive, and I won't out so much pressure on them to sell right away. For now, the three paintings will go on display in our house and I will enjoy them. 

  An essential aspect of creativity is not being afraid to fail.     Edwin Land

An essential aspect of creativity is not being afraid to fail.


Edwin Land