Entering art shows
When I first got the bug to get my résumé put together I thought it was a god idea but what did I have to put into it? At that time the answer was ‘just about nothing”. I decided I wanted to move ahead with my art career and so I researched how to build a good resume' in the local library and I also picked the brains of all the successful artists I knew
The first thing I found out was I needed get started entering some shows and hopefully win some awards. Well of course I thought this was going to be difficult but with some good suggestions and information I went ahead and did and it and to my utter amazement it was easier than I thought.
Here is what I learned and used to reach my goal.If you are thinking on these lines I hope this will be of some help to you.
When you start check for local shows and exhibits first. This is the easiest way to do it to begin. It is much easier to show locally!
You need to understand what a “juried” and a “Judged” show is.
A juried show simply means that the artwork you submit will be reviewed and evaluated to actually be accepted into the art exhibit.
Judged just means that all the artwork that have been juried into the show will be evaluated to establish which pieces will win awards. You will see some shows that are both juried and judged. These are harder to get into because you have to be accepted first and then you will be judged. I found the smaller shows were often not juried. Some have limits on them of where the artist lives, for example you may see one that would state that entries are accepted in Utah, Idaho, Wyoming and Arizona. So if you lived in California you would be wasting your time to enter. Some exhibits will call for certain mediums, like oils or watercolors. If your working in pastels again a waste of your time.
Entering non-juried shows will give you the opportunity to see what competing is all about. You can see what the judges look for and compare what you entered with what won awards. However, a non-juried show will always have more entries. This means that some of the art will be good while others will be poor which makes it more difficult to evaluate and excellence of the artwork. The laid back nature of this sort of exhibit will afford you a chance to learn, but in the long run the juried show will look much better on your résumé.
Once you have a few non-juried shows under your belt, your next step is to advance to local and regional juried shows. Being accepted and possibly winning consistently at your local and regional shows will give you the confidence and experience to do this!
Now you are ready to take the plunge and try your chance in a major national juried show.
One thing to keep in mind, competing at the national lever is particularly tough.
Before you enter be sure you read the prospectus very carefully to make sure you have all the information right before you go ahead. Every exhibit will be different in how they want entries to be submitted. Some will have a size limit, others will have a theme that you are supposed to follow. Be selective in choosing competitions as you progress. Never enter a show that you cannot respect. The show should reflect your present stage or experience, ability and expertise.
There may be Several essentials that will help determine which shows you should enter. First the entry fee, is it affordable? Does the exhibit have awards? Where is the show being held? What categories are accepted and who is the judge or judges. Do you respect the judge? I would research each judge and see if I liked their work. Google their work and see what caliber of an artist they are. I would never pay a $30 per entry fee if the people who are judging my work don’t have good credentials or can’t paint.
Be selective! Be Selective! Don't settle for a low class show.
Entering an art show offers you a way to have your talent validated, it also gives you the chance for some recognition. This is so important for beginning artists. We get a lot of this from our friends and loved ones but we need to hear it from strangers which can be more encouraging. For a great way to build your résumé competition is one way to accomplish this. For me it was the way I got into galleries and sold many paintings, it was my jumping off point. It can be the same for you, you just have to decide to do it! Remember that along the road you will get a lot of “rejections” and you will just have to learn how to have a tough skin.
Remember that judging art is a completely subjective procedure. A painting that gets rejected in one show may easily win First Place in the next show!
Here are some tips to help you along the way.
I have noticed that it is more common now for art competitions to be judged from digital photographs instead of how we used to do it with slides. They are also letting the artist upload their images to a website instead of mailing them in. If you don’t have a good digital camera you will need to invest in one if you are really going to be serious about building your résumé. Then you will need to either learn how to photograph your artwork or have someone who knows how to do it help you. You need to send the very best photos of your work possible.
1.Never think that a judge will like your work if it is likes theirs. Don't paint something like they paint! They may be especially critical of your work because of this! You will have a much better chance if you paint something entirely different.
2.Always ask for a opinion of your work from someone who loves you or a friend that you can trust. I have found that other artists can often be envious and not give you a straight answer so I steer away from asking their opinions.
3. If you know a dealer or gallery owner ask them what they think. Ask them to point out which pieces to enter, sometimes we just can’t judge this for ourselves.
4. You need to understand that your art will be quickly judged in the beginning if you have entered a juried show. If you want the judges to be drawn to your artwork, your painting will need to have “visual impact”. Visual impact is something that draws the viewer to it in a room full of paintings. This painting will have a strong composition, and use strong values with sharp, high contrasts. You want the judge to walk in the room and see your art first!
5.Enter as many images as you can, this will give the judges a chance to see that you are consistently good at what you do and are focused and serious.
6. Don’t enter small canvas’, If you want the best chance of getting an award, your chances increase with a larger work of art.
7.Composition is considered by many judges to be the most important element in a painting. You can have a wonderful painting, a great design but if the composition is off and fails to pull the painting together then it won’t work at all. Check you values, colors balance and technique. This tells the judge if you have potential or not.
8.Double check the show’s rules. You don’t want to be eliminated for something overlooked.
9. The images you send in need to be as precise as possible. They need to be sharp and clear. They need to be in focus and never have a distracting background. Keep them simple.
10.Never present your artwork in bad frames. Take the time to get them framed right, overly large or complex frames distracts the viewer from the artwork. Frame your art in neutral frames that enhance the artwork not take away from it.
11. NEVER enter a piece that has been copied from a calendar, magazine or another’s artwork. It is amazing but as a teacher I saw a lot of artwork that had been copied. A good judge has been around the block enough to recognize a copied piece. Once I had a friend who entered a painting in the local fair, I saw it and instantly recognized it as a photo I had on my calendar hanging on my kitchen wall. If I recognized it I can bet the judge did to because it was reproduced on lots of items on the market.
12. Judges as a rule don’t like overly sweet or overly-romantic paintings.
13. If you are lucky enough to get a written critique from a judge try to take it with a grain of salt and don’t take it personally. Use it to help you in the future.
14. If you get rejected get hold of the catalog for the exhibit. Then you can see what got accepted, this may be helpful next time you enter a competition.