Lilla Rogers Global Talent Search Winners & Thoughts on Critique

Boho Inspiration Trend Board from Lilla Rogers Global Talent Search, final Round by Midwest CBK
Boho Inspiration Trend Board from Lilla Rogers Global Talent Search, final Round by Midwest CBK

Yesterday was quite a big day for me as the winner of Lilla Rogers Global Talent Search was to be announced! I checked Lilla's blog in the morning to see who the winner was, and was happy to see that they chose 2 winners! Zoe Ingram and Daniel Roode! Unfortunately, and obviously, I did not make the list. Too bad so sad. I'm super-happy for Zoe and Daniel though and can't wait to see their careers take off even more! Seriously, any time an artist is recognized for their talent and can make a living at their craft, it makes me happy.

Well, I wanted to go ahead and share my final project submission with you! Especially since you've been so supportive of me and rooting me on - which I seriously can't thank you enough for! As I mentioned in my previous post about the final round, we were given 4 trend boards from Midwest CBK and were able to choose one board to use as our directional inspiration to create our own line of gift or home decor products.

I chose the board 'Boho Inspiration' as anyone who knows me knows how much I LOVE bohemian inspiration! Our job was to create 1 main pattern and 2-3 supporting patterns, 2-3 non-repeating pieces (placement graphics like icons, little doodles, etc., an in my case with the board I chose, at least one word), and 2-3 templated products.

In addition to this board, I was really inspired by Alexander McQueen's Resort 2014 Runway collection and Sarah Burton's patch-worked garments of granny meets boho style. Stunning, as always!

Alexander McQueen Resort 2014
Alexander McQueen Resort 2014

I decided to take the Boho Inspiration trend board inspiration and mix it with some Alexander McQueen for my own interpretation. I created an amazing paisley print (LOVE this, I must say!), and as per Lilla's request from our one on one Skype interview to 'push myself', I decided to whip out my gouache and paint granny squares, chairs, teapots and a geometric in bright, boho colors, which was different for me, and fun at the same time.

It's hard to see here, but the granny squares are on a wood-grain which makes the brights pop nicely, while the geometric is a painted ikat pattern. I also painted some hand-lettering which was fun in the words 'Be True to You' which really resonate with me. The painting definitely allows for a looser look compared to my Illustrator work, which was fun to play with. What do you think?

Josephine Kimberling's Submission for Lilla Rogers Global Talent Search finals (page 1 of 2)
Josephine Kimberling's Submission for Lilla Rogers Global Talent Search finals (page 1 of 2)
Josephine Kimberling's Submission for Lilla Rogers Global Talent Search finals (page 2 of 2)
Josephine Kimberling's Submission for Lilla Rogers Global Talent Search finals (page 2 of 2)

I must say, being a part of the Global Talent Search was absolutely a lot of fun. I wasn't going to enter it at all, since last year I had submitted my work to Lilla for representation and was turned down - yes, I am admitting this to you. I figured, why partake in a talent search when I already know I'm not what she is looking for? Why put so much time and effort into something that is not going to pan out, when I can invest my time and energies into something else that will? It just didn't make good business sense.

But when I met Lilla at Surtex, she encouraged me to do it anyway. I just figured, well, now I'll kick myself if I don't at least try! And try I did. It was such a pleasure to make it to the top 6 semi-finalists out of 1,500 original submissions from 30 countries! SO fun and so validating, which is always nice for an artist.

What was so fun about these projects was that Lilla was coming to all of us, wanting and allowing us to be our unique selves. And when you get a client (or a project) like that, it's golden. I love that type of work. I love it when they come to you because they like what you put out into the world and want you to help collaborate with them and use your creativity to come up with an awesome solution. It's seriously priceless. It stretches you as an artist and can have the potential to bring you to the next level in your work and push yourself more than you would on your own. If you find those clients, be sure to hold onto them!

Lilla is seriously gifted at this. At wanting you to be the best you, you can be and helping to bring that out of you. No matter where you are at in your artistic journey. Side note - her Make Art That Sells class starts on Monday and is truly an AMAZING class that I think everyone can benefit from!!

Sooooo, swallowing the news yesterday that I didn't make the top two was at first, very easy. For the first few hours I was like 'Oh yeah, totally fine! I've been around the block and in the industry long enough to know how to navigate these types of waters! Easy!". It's true. I've been a working artist for over 12 years. Presenting trend and color and patterns in front of buyers, merchandisers and managers, only to hear critique after critique after critique (and of course, lots of praise too!).

In the beginning of your art career, it's tough to take. You take it personally. In the beginning you haven't had enough successes and validation to stand on when you take a hit. It's hard to find your legs. It's hard to separate personal from business. However, at those critical moments, you have a choice. You can either take it personally and sink under the weight of the critique and choose to make the same choices over and over again and get into a despairing rut. Let it define you and steal your joy. OR, you can stand up on your feeble legs with all the strength you have left, take the criticism, learn from it, apply it, and come out the other end stronger. I truly believe you will get there and make it through if you choose the latter more than you choose the former, and it's SO worth it to pick yourself up, brush yourself off and move forward!

But you know what? After 12 years of being critiqued, the critique became less and less. I learned from it. I grew from it. I came to crave knowing how to become better and better. I used it as fuel. Now when I hear that I'm not good enough I think 'Oh yeah? I'll prove you wrong!' instead of 'Yeah, you're right.'

I must say though that we all struggle. We're all human and all the experience in the world can't remove that quality from us. Even after all of those years of taking hits and having successes, most of the time a hit will just roll off my shoulder, and sometimes it will throw me for a loop. This one sure did. I was totally fine until I started thinking about it more. Then my inner critic came out and reminded me of the many discouraging things that people had said to me throughout pivotal times in my life and career. It wasn't so much about not being represented by Lilla - although that's a total bummer. It was more about my own struggles of not feeling like I'm good enough, and this was a reminder. Wham-O! Don't you just love it when you kick yourself when you're already down? NOT self-love!

My thoughts on that? Inner critic, goodbye, you are not welcome here. I AM good enough! I've picked myself up so many times and pressed on with so much ambition and perseverance that it has only made me a better artist and person. So, I encourage you. If you are struggling, and wondering if you are enough - you are. You have so much to give to this world. Do what you love - really. Even if it's just for 10 minutes a day. Let that ray of beauty into your life and allow it to lift your spirit. Let it little by little make you strong enough to stand on your own two feet so when you get hit by critique you can say 'Is that all you got?' and stand back up, ready for more even stronger than before.

That's my 2 cents of encouragement for you this lovely Friday! I'd love to hear how you handle critique, how you get through it and what stage you are in the process. Please do share for the benefit of others.

Ok, so enough with the heavy and the pep-talk (for myself too!). I just want to say a HUGE thank you to every single person who supported me and rooted me on through this talent search! It has truly been such a fun experience, and so fun to see the creative community come together over something like this. It completely means the world to know you were in my corner, so from my heart, 'Thank YOU'!!!