Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Rejection and Acceptance

I moved to Brooklyn just before the beginning of last spring. Shortly after moving I began exploring my new home by venturing out on a run with the purpose of getting lost and trying to find my way back home. I have done this everytime I've moved. Its the best way to learn your way around, at least in my humbel opinion.

On one of the first runs, I traveled down Flatbush Ave. from Grand Army Plaza. About a mile down the road, I turned left onto Washington Ave. and quickly found myself crossing Sullivan Place.

I thought, "Hey, Ebbets Field used to be around here." So I turned and jogged away from Washington Ave.

Sure enough, a block away was McKeever Place. The intersection of Sullivan and McKeever was the site of Ebbets Field, the home of the Brooklyn Dodgers. Arguably, the place is more famous in death than it was in life. Since its destruction, the tiny stadium has been written about, sung about and served as the inspiration for another ballpark in Queens.

Today, there is little indication that a ballpark ever stood on the spot. Instead a public housing complex dominates the landscape.

That day, I wasn't the only person looking for the site of the old ballpark. There were a few other people looking for some sign that there used to be a ballpark here.

As I turned and continued on my run I conceived the image above in my minds eye. Upon returning home I quickly scribbled a very crude version in one of my sketchbooks. In my free time a short time later I put together the finished version.

Fast forward to Spring 2009. I thought this would make a lovely New Yorker Cover, a tribute to ballparks in the city that had been torn down, but not forgotten. It was timely, since the city was tearing down another beloved baseball stadium and another building that hosted its fair share of baseball games. I could just picture it on the newsstands, so I sent it off as an unsolicited submission.

Of course, the editors at The New Yorker didn't think it was quite as great as I did. I received a polite letter thanking me for my submission, but that the editors could not use it at this time.


Of course, almost immediately that nagging self doubt begins creeping in. Maybe this image isn't quite as great as I thought. Ordering all those postcards with this on it may have been a mistake. Oh crap.

Luckily, before I plunged to deeply into despair I received notice that this piece of art would be included in the 2009 Communication Arts Illustration Annual. I had entered this before I sent it off to the New Yorker and then promptly forgot about doing so.


Maybe this image isn't that bad after all.

I guess if there is lesson here, aside from inspiration striking anywhere, its that my work isn't a good as I think it is, sometimes, but not nearly as awful as I'm afraid it is either.

By the way, if you're an art diretor, art buyer or someone who commissions illustration, I have a few postcards left. Send me an e-mail or leave me a message in the comment section and I'll be happy to add you on my mailing list.


  1. That's big news! Congrats. You never really know who actually saw your submission at the New Yorker, anyway. The acceptance into CA 2009 should outrank the rejection from TNY, because you know talented people have judged and liked the image.

  2. Thanks.

    I'm not terribly upset about getting rejected by The New Yorker. Lord know I'll try again (and probably fail). Perhaps I can begin a rejection streak like Richard GoldbergIt would be pretty cool to be on the cover, though