I cannot tell you how many times this has come up in conversations with students and teachers. Art IS extremely subjective. I have taught Illustration and Design for years. I have seen gifted students fail for lack of work ethic and hard working students elevate their craft and careers by the sweat of their brow. I am pretty cut and dry in every class I teach, the first day usually starts with a speech like this “Show up on time, prepared and ready to work and you’ll do just fine. Come in unprepared, miss deadlines and be unwilling to work you will also do just fine – next semester when you take the course again.”
The easiest part of the job for an artist is just showing up.