I have to confess, I didn’t take my original submission to Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2014 awfully seriously. On graduating I had decided I needed to embark upon a programme of measures aimed at toughening myself up and learning to embrace rejection. Being a Grandmother in my very late forties, living and working in the deepest, darkest depths of Cornwall, I anticipated my ‘emergence’ as an artist was going to be less than easy. I decided that by submitting to competitions and being roundly rebuffed, I would develop an appropriately thick artist’s skin, thereby allowing me to deflect the slingshots and arrows of future criticism or (more likely) accustom myself to being artistically invisible. I’m tempted to use an analogy about runners’ heels, blisters and surgical spirit but as the last time I ran was probably sometime in the early 80’s when I thought I saw Adam Ant coming out of Warrens pasty shop in Penzance, I won’t.
The flaw in my carefully crafted strategy was that so far I’d been accepted for both opportunities that I’d applied to. This wasn’t going to plan. It was therefore with some smugness that I sent off my Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2014 submission, content in the knowledge that this time, failure would be mine and I could commence building my shield of steel. Or aluminium. With rivets. I do like a rivet.
So, on 1st April 2014 when I received an email from Bloomberg New Contemporaries entitled ‘Shortlisted’ I thought, ‘Buckle up, Stace! Here we go! Here’s the list of everyone who’s been picked and you aren’t on it.’ I was. ‘Oh well’, I thought, ‘That’s ok, you won’t get through the second stage’. I did.
My dismay at being foiled again lasted approximately one tenth of a nano second and I gleefully took to Facebook and Twitter to register my utter delight at being chosen. One of the nicest things was watching other selected artists doing the same and we tentatively engaged in a social media meet and greet; shaking virtual hands and congratulating each other.
Another high point was being directed to The Observer’s Culture Supplement where they list first sight of this year’s selected Bloomberg New Contemporaries’ artists as number four on the top ‘25 cultural highlights of the Summer’. Gosh.
It’s been a tiny little rollercoaster ride of emotions. Don’t tell anyone, but I’m secretly quite glad I haven’t had to get the riveter out.