Here at Moonlight Art Magazine we get a lot of people asking how they can get their art into our publication. Some artists knock our socks off, while some plain suck. Some aren't ready to be considered yet, but most show some potential to do great things in their future. We try to advise and encourage all artists, and want them to do well. When submitting or showing your work to ANYBODY you should always be aware that these people are taking the time out of their day to give you the benefit of their knowledge. Whether or not you agree with what they have to say is beside the point. There are ways an artist being reviewed should handle constructive criticism, and rejection, and there are ways they should not. For those looking to become professional artists, I give you an example of one of the ways you should not. Nothing has been altered from this My Space correspondence, save the omission of their name.
so how do i go about getting my work in your mag? do i send the pic to this e mail or do you have another? love your mag by the way!
Not how I would open an letter of inquiry, but okay. It was a busy day, but I could use a break from work, and take a minute to look at their My Space pics. There were a few Johnny Depp fan art paintings, a Betty Page piece, paintings on kid's room walls, some figures, puppies, and babies done with that family snapshot feel. Nothing at all like what our My Space page shows. What struck me most about the work was that this artist had a grasp of line, form, and values, but not (yet) the confident understanding that is needed for "professional" quality works of art. This is not a crime. I remember being that artist, myself. So I wrote back...
Hi ... I think first and foremost you should read our magazine. All of our artists have a vision which they've mixed with outstanding technical abilities, to push the envelope of art. Don't get me wrong. You are a very good artist, but I don't think you've broken that glass ceiling yet, that all artists need to smash though, to truly make their work stand out above the rest. That does not mean we don't want to see your work. I want to be there when you do stand out, and that could be next week. You just never know about these things. Keep posting work in our comments, and drop us a line from time to time.Have you subscribed to our blog/ checked out www. moonlightandmermaids. blogspot. com ? Let me make a suggestion or two, as well. Unless you want to really pursue painting kids rooms, and doctor's offices (a valid profession, I've done it myself) for the rest of your life, start working from your own photographs. Set up your own subjects, light them, shoot them, and paint from those. There is very little fan art in galleries, or art mags. Also, find those artists whose work you really love, and make a stack of their books, to read, by your bedside, before you go to sleep at night. Really study what they do, and think about why you love them. I hope that helps.
...and back to work, I had to go. I got an almost immediate response:
u must not be an artist yourself, it doesn't work that way but thanks for the advise.kids rooms haha must not have looked at all my work b4 you wrote this e mail.have a good day.
Okay, that stuck me as a little snippy, with a pinch of victim. I'll spell that out a little more clear. If you have to work that hard to see the absolute worst in everything people say to you, you're playing the victim. It doesn't work what way? Granted, I was just shooting from the hip here, based on my own experiences as an artist. I'm the kind of guy who works on three things at once, so my response was just as simple:
In fact I am an artist, (make my living at it) and I did look at your work, unless those Johnny Depp pieces weren't yours. I'm just offering you some insight. I'm sure you'll do just fine.
Now, having said that, I'm thinking I'm still going to be nice and encourage an aspiring young artist, but some people are always trying to ice skate up hill.
your very professional, i have to say.. so your saying i should pant Edward on children's walls along with Betty page? maybe i should go paint Edward in a obgyn?and to collect of bunch of books from other artist, so i can mimic there work? ha, no thanks im doing just fine with my own ideas. and to say Edward isn't mine is just crossing the line. maybe you should take some classes on anthropology and learn a lil.i wouldn't want to associate with a magazine that belittles artiest.
I'm still trying to figure out where I said that, or where the act of belittling took place. To assume that in studying artist you love, can only lead to mimicking their work is just silly. Anthropology? I just don't know. I use to do paintings on kid's rooms walls, and guess what I was painting for most of them? That's right! Fan art. Yoda, Jack Skellington, and even a pirate or two. I was even asked by a teen student of mine, not to long ago, if I would paint them a Twilight vampire. I had to say no, but that's what they ask for. The point is, a person can take or leave professional criticism, and some of it will be mean. I was just blunt, which is all I have time for. I believe that's been Simon Cowell's whole point on American Idol. It's a tough old world out there, and you've got to take your lumps to get ahead. Or, you ask any Drill Sargent and see how nice they are about it. Now, with all that said and done, who do you think loses? Not me. I get to work with the best. Right again! The aspiring artist loses, and they don't even know why. The funny thing is, this could have all been avoided had she read our submissions guidlines, on our front page. They are as fallowes...
#1 Please send us links that go directly to your artwork. E mails with attachments will be trashed, unless you've made prior arrangments with us.
#2 Tell us a little about yourself. You must be taking an active part in the world of art for us to publish you, so if you're showing in galleries, or being published somewhere, tell us about it. We don't have time to go though your entire website looking for your bio. We're not trying to be cranky here. That's just the way it is.
#3 Rude and pushy artists will be blocked. You can send us as many e mails as you want. We love to stay updated on what you're doing, but we aren't going to keep checking back to your website for updates, no matter how great an artist you are, and we can't show up to everyone's shows, every day of the week. It's okay to think your great, but it's not okay to think your so great that we'll jump at your command. Also, if we try (or any other pro artist for that matter) to give you tips on how you might improve your work, that means we do like your art, and want to see you do well. Don't get touchy about it. Touchy closes doors. You'll do well to keep that in mind.
#4 Be patient. I know this is very much like #3 but, we work on about 3 issues at a time. If we like you, or even if we've agreed to put you in one of our issues, give us the time we need to do things up right.
#5 Read the magazine! We're getting a lot of submissions that have nothing to do with what we do. It's only a waste of your own time and ours.
#6 Do not send us original artwork. I don't know how you'd get our address, but whatever it is, we ain't sending it back.
#7 We don't do reviews. Why? Because we're all about being a positive force in the world of art. Let some other art snobs judge your work. Then tell them where they can stick it.
#8 Now we're just checking to see if you read all of the other guidelines through, but really... just use your common sense. Do good art and believe in what you do, and the world will love you.