The art of failure (for an artist)

Written byMagaly

Magaly Jacqueline Arocha was born in Caracas in 1968. She lived in the roar of Greater Caracas. She changes house and neighborhood several times and each time it is a new experience which almost immediately makes her understand that travel and change will be an integral part of her life.

11 February 2021

Today I want to talk to you about a very personal issue but I think that discussing it can help you not feel so lonely: failure and loss.

Magaly Arocha figurative painter in her studio in Bologna Italy


We live in a world that glorifies victory and condemns defeat. Today more than ever in social networks we find only successful people. Never a defeat: only victories.

Unfortunately, I have experienced some losses in the last few months. I have undertaken some competitions and contests and they have have preferred other candidates. I felt too bad. It took me a few weeks to get rid of that mixed feelings.

I was embarrassed. I did not speak to anyone about it. I felt that I was not worth as an artist. I did not want to paint for several days. A thought got ahold of my mind: why to paint if my paintings are not chosen? And then the decision: never again a contest for me.

After a few days of isolation and reflection, I got to work again. I started reviewing my applications. I participated in the meetings of the organizers of the contest and in the awards ceremonies of the artists (a great suffering, I admit) to understand what I had to learn and perhaps where I went wrong.

Because it must be said that when they discard you they do not explain why and that is why I have made this lack a new incentive to research and study and invest in training.

The recovery

I attended training seminars to review the materials to be submitted: artist statement, biography, resume, and artistic presentation. I chatted with other classified artists and got to work.

I reviewed my presentation based on the feedback received and did extensive research on some concepts that I still did not fully understand.

All this to say that defeats exist and there is no reason to be ashamed and hide. Sure, they hurt, but it’s more painful to freeze and lick your wounds.

To progress you have to face failure. To move on, you have to try again, find another way.

I speak from my own experience. The fact of studying helped me to metabolize and react and while I study and wonder I don’t think about contests. I focus on getting better.

➡️ Have you ever been discarded? How did you react to it? Do you think defeats can help you grow?


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