Persistence has paid off for a St. Louis Park artist who was on his way to becoming the Susan Lucci of the State Fair.

For 10 years, Marty Harris submitted his work to the fair's art show. And for 10 years, it was rejected. One year, Harris even submitted two entries: one under his own name, and another under a fake name.

"Both of me got rejected," he said.

This year, Harris finally got one of his art prints into the show. And in a Hollywood ending, guess what?

It won the blue ribbon.

How did he feel?

"It's like, 'Ha!' " Harris shouted, thrusting his fists into the air and laughing.

Although his screen print, "Frontyard," won the blue ribbon in its category, Harris didn't actually receive a ribbon, which he found disappointing.

"I wanted to wear it," he said.

By day, Harris, 59, is a commercial illustrator. By night, he works on fine art. He began entering the State Fair show because of his lifelong love of the event.

"I don't raise farm animals," Harris said. "This is something I can do to get involved."

Now that he's achieved what he set out to do, he's planning to expand his horizons.

"I think I'll do crop art next year," he said. "After that, it's off to canning, I guess."

During his decade of rejection, Harris said, he was prepared to keep entering for as long as it took to finally get in. His lesson for others?

"If you try 10 times and don't get in, try for 25," he said. "Revel in the rejection."

John Reinan • 612-673-7402