Be Smart About Art

Losing once doesn't (have to) mean permanent defeat

written by: Susan Mumford June 14, 2015 1) RECOMMENDED-> Susan's weekly blog post 3323 views

Losing once doesn't (have to) mean permanent defeat

from our Sunday reading series - a weekly blog post (subscribe here

What if you don’t get accepted into an open submission show or art fair? Does that mean permanent defeat? Sure, if you allow it to prevent you from ever trying again. Does getting a “no” a collector equate to them never buying anything from you (for the first time or again)? Absolutely, if you cease contact, don’t email them about future shows and generally give up all hope on them buying. Does a journalist not responding or featuring a story mean they’ll never write about your shows again in future? Why yes, it does, if you stop sending them information on exhibitions and the like, for they’ll have no knowledge of what you’re doing. You get the picture.

Remember back in 2008 when Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barrack Obama went head to head in the United States’ Democratic Party presidential nomination? Clinton announced her candidacy in January 2007 and it seemed that she was the clear frontrunner – that is, until she found herself lagging behind Obama as of late Spring the following year. On 7th June 2008, she withdrew from the race, endorsing her opponent as the presumptive nominee for the party. It seemed that the U.S.A. was ready for an African American President, yet not a female one*.

Hillary carried on to become the Secretary of State from 2009 to 2013. When she stepped down from that position, there was a lot of speculation as to her next move. Despite being at retirement age, many reports ventured that she was preparing to run once again for the Democratic Party presidential nomination.

And indeed, the speculation turned out to be true. In April 2015, she announced that she was throwing her hat into the ring again.

This was an incredible move. After undergoing widely publicized defeat, she was stepping up to the plate again. The loser would once more risk defeat, having evidently overcome the fear of failure. Not only that, as a woman of 67 she no doubt knew that she would endure harsh criticism for her age. And surely enough, early anti-Hillary campaigning reported that she was better suited to be a doting grandmother than President of the U.S.A.

Regardless of political alliance, individuals who expose themselves in pursuit of a career they love have much to glean from Clinton.

The easy thing is to accept defeat, label yourself a Loser and give in to this being your identity. How about taking a leaf out of Hillary’s book and not readily giving up? You can learn from previous exhibition applications, continue liaising with collectors and journalists, and so on. If you do nothing, you guarantee failure, whereas if you try, you at least have a chance at succeeding. What impresses me most about Hillary’s nomination for the Democratic Party’s 2016 presidential candidacy is that she’s doing it for a second time, after such a major previous defeat. Her attitude is that of a Winner.


*In November 2008, when Obama was elected as President, I found myself flooded with tears of happiness that my home country had at long last elected an African American President. As a 10 year old, I wanted to see civil rights activist and Baptist minister Jesse Jackson become President, however this wasn’t to be.

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