5 Insider Tips for Entering Art Competitions

artfair2.jpgIn case you haven’t heard, we wrapped up the judging of our Watermedia Showcase competition a few weeks ago (Sorry, no spoilers here. You’re going to have to wait for the February issue to see the winners announced.), and just a few weeks before that, a colleague and I juried a local arts fair. In general, I love to jury shows. For one thing, I love looking at great art, plus shows are a great way to find new talent to feature in the magazine and gauge trends—Are there more abstracts than usual this year? Is mixed-watermedia still hot?

As a juror, I always approach a competition with such high hopes, which is why it’s so frustrating when I see people shoot themselves in the foot by not adhering to the rules of the competition or by simply not giving the presentation of their work the proper due. Here are some important dos and don’ts for entering art competitions.

1. Do use your own photo references. It’s embarrassing and damaging to all involved when a prize must be revoked because it’s been determined that an artist has used someone else’s photos as source material.

2. Do make sure the photography is high-quality. It’s unprofessional and distracting to see someone’s backyard fence framing a painting in the slide or digital image. Crop! Also, if the painting is poorly lit, it can’t be judged properly, and almost always gets disqualified right off the bat.

3. Don’t pander to the jurors by submitting work that looks just like theirs. They see right through that; and, trust me, it wins you no points.

4. If the exhibition has a variety of categories (landscapes, abstracts, figures, etc.), don’t stretch the interpretation and enter a loosely painted landscape into the abstract category, for example, simply because that category generally gets fewer entries, and you think it will increase your chances of winning. It just encourages the juror to assume you don’t understand your own work.

5. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t win. Lots of terrific paintings get rejected in competitions that pull in a lot of entries. Consider that you may never know how much a juror may have struggled over the decision. You may have been THIS close.

Maureen Bloomfield, editor of The Artist’s Magazine, and I will be sharing more insider tips on how to make intelligent choices when deciding what shows and competitions to enter, so that you don’t throw away your money or your time. Catch us live Tuesday, November 3 at 1:00 (EDT) for Entering Art Competitions: Enhance Your Chance of Success.

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