How to deal with artistic rejection

How to deal with artistic rejection is the topic of my newest comedy bit since my favorite comedy is rooted in truth and sadness. In my bit I exaggerate and make fun of rejection, whereas in real life it is sometimes hard to do just that. As long as you make art, you will be rejected. The only way for no one to hate you is to leave the paper blank. How can you keep on making art with all the scars rejection has given you? I made these guidelines and posted them on my instagram stories some weeks ago. I got lots of feedback for it so I’m posting them on here too. They’re a hybrid of personal insights, all those self-help books I once read and good conversations with artist friends. Thanks for that.

  1. Don’t let it break you. Keep on doing what you love! Remember why you’re creative in the first place. Don’t stop.
  2. Don’t change your art for people that don’t matter. Let’s say a certain institution rejects you. Ask yourself, why do you want them to accept you so badly? Do you really fit in there? Would you have to change the core of your work for them to like you? That’s the artsy equivalent to angsty teenagers doing shit to be friends with shitty people. Don’t do that. Find a way to get appraisal from the right institutions.
  3. Rejection means: people see you and your work. Just keep it up until the right people see it. Seek people that like you and not just tolerate you.
  4. Keep praise from friends and fanmail in a feel good folder. Go through it when you think everyone hates you. Because that is never true!
  5. Not everyone will love your art. And that’s good. If you really want to appeal to everyone, you’ll eventually water down your art and it will be printed on cheap postcards at tourist shops. The more specific your art the more specific is your target audience. Finding that is hard, as I can tell you gladly with my three fans.
  6. Feel the pain somatically. Can you turn it into creative energy? Like make a sculpture with a buzz saw, draw a watercolor with tears and mascara, go on a gun rampage with a paintball gun, write a funny diss track? What do you feel? Anger? Anger can paint great paintings, write deep jokes and beautiful songs. I don’t glorify pain, but often today’s tears become tomorrow’s soil.
  7. Remember your work is not you. This is especially hard to acknowledge as a stand-up comedian. When the audience hates you, they hate your essence. Still, I try to separate Ingrid from stage Ingrid, an even more brazen, ballsy, callous version of me. Keeps me sane.
  8. Many others get rejected, too. You’re not the only one experiencing it. Don’t feel special, ha! Read biographies of famous artists. Which hardship they went through to follow their dreams. (I don’t know if this is just the urban legend of Arles, but apparently, Van Gogh has never sold one paining in his lifetime). By sharing your own story you can connect with others, who feel the same. Just don’t get dragged into an unproductive, downward spiral of lamentation and self-pity. Lament and then get back to work. These jokes don’t write themselves.
  9. Spoil you inner child. Remember what makes you happy. Now do that! That chocolate cake, a warm bath, a visit to the circus? Do it!
  10. Can you learn anything from it? Maybe there was some tiny truth in that rejection mail from that art school afterall? Maybe there is something I can actually do better? We can often improve either our art or our attitude, after we wiped away those tears.
  11. Now, focus on your next steps, what’s ahead, the future, new goals, good people that matter!
how to deal with artistic rejection
how to deal with artistic rejection

None of the above tips work for you? Well, there is one last, tiny truth, that hurts the most about rejection:

People do not get hired based on quality. Booking is arbitrary. No matter how much in control you are about your work, at some point you run into industry walls. It is merely up to you and your personal capacity to endure pain: you either jump over that wall, turn your back at it or smash your head against it.

Steve Martin’s famous quote „be so good they can’t ignore you“ is a myth. If you are that good, you will not need them anymore. 

Institutions reject good artists. That’s a common industry practice, so their own prima donnas won’t get scratched. If a music label builds up the next star, they buy up all similar artists to eliminate competition. German has a beautiful word for this: Karteileiche („card file corpse“ – a sleeping member, no one intends to wake up). Besides that, institutions send out harsh rejections to keep up a climate of fear to hold on to a respect and artistic relevance they have lost long ago. 

So here’s my last advice: Surround yourself with good people to stay sane. Develop and take care of meaningful friendships. Painter Rose Wylie says „unsuccessfulness gives you freedom.“ Stay independent. Find a source of happiness outside of your art. Be good to yourself. <3

Ingrid Wenzel – Comedy Cartoons – Solo Kassel – 14.03.2019

Kassel ist künstlerisch gesehen eine meiner Lieblingsstädte, auch wenn ich die Dokumenta immer verpasst hab. Es gibt u.a. die Galerie für komische Kunst Caricatura, bei derer Sommerakademie ich mitgezeichnet habe. Und es gibt auch eine Kunstuni, die mich nicht wollte. Daher ist es nur logisch, dass ich dort mein Solo spiele. Neben Stand-up Comedy, zeichne ich auch Cartoons. Also nichts wie hin da. Tickets gibt es hier über die Location Palais Hopp. Ich freu’ mich auf alle, die kommen.



ingrid wenzel solo


Neue Comedytalks online – Shahak Shapira – Jan van Weyde – Jamie Wierzbicki

Liebe Leute, die youtube meiden, wie ich Weihnachtsmärkte. Ihr müsst youtube nicht nach den besten Buden absuchen. Ich präsentiere euch hier die neuen Leckerbissen (dafür komm ich in die Hölle). Es sind nämlich drei neue Comedytalk Videos online:

Die eine Sache, die ich vergessen habe, Shahak Shapira zu fragen war: wie zur Hölle hat er es geschafft über 150000 Follower zu bekommen. Ich kratze bei Twitter ja an der vielversprechenden 225 Marke. Alle anderen Fragen seht ihr hier:

Jamie Wierzbicki und ich kennen uns schon seit dem wir vor fünf Jahren mit Stand-up angefangen haben. Seit dem hat sich viel verändert. Nur eines bleibt gleich: keiner ist sicher vor Bombings. Nach einem furchtbaren Auftritt in Monheim klärt Jamie über’s Bombing und Heckling auf:

Jan van Weyde und ich hatten ein wunderbares Interview. Er erzählt von süßen Fans, wie es ist Carolin Kebekus’ Support Act zu sein und wie er einmal ein Promovideo aufgenommen hat. Und ich freu’ mich am Ende reinzurufen, was ein Callback ist:

Einige Leute sprechen mich an, warum nicht jeden Freitag ein Video kommt. Wir kommen nicht hinterher. Wenn uns jemand Geld gibt, gerne. Machmal werden Videotermine kurzfristig verschoben, manchmal gibt’s Probleme bei der Veröffentlichung. Und manchmal müssen wir halt arbeiten. Aber das nächste Video kommt so sicher wie der Weihnachtsmann! Einen schönen dritten Advent euch!

Drawing on ipad with apple pencil and procreate

I don’t like digital art. I like my art dirty and raw. The smell of paint makes me high. The thick layers of a Van Gogh painting make me hungry for mud pie. Painting is physical. Imagine the expressionists painted on computers, they’d all have chronic back pain. Painting digitally is lacking coincidence. Coincidence paints the best pictures. Cry on paper and you can paint a mascara watercolor. Cry on your ipad and you cry more because it breaks because it’s not waterproof.

I sound like a curmudgeonette who hates anything digital. Fine, but with all things that I don’t like I try them out at least once. The ipad now joins me trying rotten Swedish fish and sport. So for this drawing experiment, I used an ipad with an apple pen and the app “procreate”. This is how it was for me:

The best part about drawing on an ipad: it’s fun.

You can eat while doing it and not worry about accidentally swallowing paint. Also, people are often afraid to draw or write the first word on a white paper. Perfectionism kicks in and you end up not drawing anything leaving the paper blank. Doing that digitally helps, because it’s playful, you can erase quickly and no pile of tossed paper reminds you of your failure.

The worst part about drawing with an ipad: you have to buy an ipad.

The ipad is just too expensive for a toy. The app “procreate” is cool but definitely has too many brushes to choose from. It’s like looking into a make up artist’s work place and getting all insecure because I only own a chapstick. To get used to the mechanics I did some free hand drawings and then just drew over photos of mine. Which felt lazy but it’s a good exercise. Drawing on my ipad feels generally like cheating. Before that, I had to mix colors (and often messed up) and now I just klick on lavender-blue. I have to wash my hands afterwards, not because I’m dirty but to wash off the guilt of not really having done anything real. My plan now is to really get to know the app and see how I can use it for comedy too.

So here are some studies I’ve done while watching bumping mics on netflix, how do you like them?

even though i like the overall picture, my face still looks too stiff ..and, well, digitally drawn from a photo.
i like this one cuz it’s playful and simple.
me imagining my snappy face on a big canvas
“me and my cacti” – this is drawn after one of my favorite polaroids
This is how I draw all day. I’m one brush stroke away from a pinched nerve.
practice makes perfect so i draw me as often as possible
i’m a baseball clown who are you?