Tuesday, January 22, 2013

What Jurors Look For in Art Shows?

Hi friends....

I enter a lot of competitions like a lot of artists. My mentor has told me to do this. He is right. Competition success is vital for an artist who wants validation, perhaps, or  to earn a living.

Clients paying a lot of money for a painting or commission want to know some other group or art expert validates their choice of artist.

BUT competitions are expensive to enter on the national circuit, time-consuming and not always fair.  Oftentimes, it seems the same artists are getting in but not YOU. However, it is very FAIR when YOU get in. Let them eat art cake.

You are not always even sure when you send those jpegs off these days with your Paypal account depleted, that anyone is even looking at your entires. Slides sent in an envelop in the old days, with some spit to seal the deal,  had a more honest ring. Rediculous, I know.

I remember first starting out on the competition circuit locally in Malibu. I had success very fast. It was incredibly exciting - and incredibly misleading. It soon went flat as a day-old Crepe Suzette shortly after when I headed into deeper national competition water. 

So, I learned  to enjoy  competition success when it came, because it came far less often, and to be honest, when I least expected it.  

The bigger the competition playing field, the harder the score and the tougher the goal keeper. The coach also likes his favorites. 

I remember when I won the Daler Rowney Painting of Excellence Award at Oil Painters of America National Show. They even used my image to publicize  the gallery show online. This was heady stuff. Fortunately, by this point, I knew to do wild cartwheels around the living room and never expect anything like this ever again. That was wise. 

So this brings me to my point.

Over the last few years, I have been asked to judge shows, including today for The Studio Channel Islands Art Center portrait show called "Essence" I was told  the entires were among the highest number for a show there

Let me first say it is an honor to judge anyone's artwork, other than my own.  I never take this lightly.

I think of each entrant that has prepared their digital entry slide, put blood sweat and tears into their choice and work, and is, quite frankly, waiting to hear if they made the cut. I know if they don't, they won't feel good. Yuk. 

I KNOW. I am waiting on four competition results right now - I don't expect to get in  but I sure hope I do. I know I will feel that little sting if I don't. And I will be poorer - four good dinners, out on the town with expensive wine,  lost.

The STING is less now because I  have learned to cope better, to develop more of an elephant's hide. One has to. I allow myself 20 minutes of wallowing in the mud, snorting my trunk in the air. Then I move on. 

A super successful artist I know keeps a competition  'Gold Win' award on his mantelpiece. The year before it was rejected by everyone. Those slips are on there too. This keeps him, he says,  level-headed. Competitions don't judge you really. Random.

YOU CREATE because some force inside makes you. Period. 

So today, as I looked at each entrant's image, my thoughts were plain and simple.

Gratitude to be judging, as I am judged. Honored, as I am honored.

Then making my choice around work that caught my eye. Gave me a zing. Couldn't be denied. I find judging around the ZING concept, very easy.

But please, no poor photo'd image entries. Zing-less.

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