Acceptance into juried art shows is one of the best ways for artists to showcase their work and get seen by potential buyers and collectors. In order to help build and develop their artistic resumes, artists should make it a common practice to enter juried art competitions. However, successfully participating in juried art shows is a process that can take time for artists to learn.
This article is designed to guide artists who are new to art competitions, and educate them on some reasons why art may be rejected when entering a juried show. In addition it provides advice on ways artists can ensure they put their best foot forward and increase their chances of being accepted. Many times it is not the quality of the art that is being rejected but rather something else in the presentation that could have easily been rectified prior to submission.
It is important for artists to understand the theme and acceptable media of a competition they are entering. If the guidelines state that only 2 dimensional art is acceptable, don’t submit 3 dimensional art or crafts. If it says no photography, don’t expect the organization to provide you with an exception. If a prospectus states the theme of the exhibition is figurative or animals, submitting a landscape will quickly get your art rejected. Before entering any competition, review your art with a critical eye to ensure it fits the theme of the show.
The art gallery or organization that is conducting the call for art has developed competition rules in order to administer, process and judge the art in an orderly and fair manner. The goal of the jurors is to identify and judge the best art for their competition. Artists should always try to understand what the organization wants from their entries and then conform to their entry process to fit these parameters.
The number one reason that artists aren’t accepted into shows is that they did not read or understand the rules thoroughly. Therefore, read the rules multiple times before submitting and follow the instructions. If you have any questions, reach out to the organization and ask for clarification.
Also, be aware of the deadline and always submit early and on time. Time can get away from all of us and it would be a shame to miss a deadline for a show that is a good fit for your work because you waited until the last minute to enter and missed the deadline.
All organizations have their own judging criteria for their shows. It is important for artists to understand what the jurors are looking for in order to ensure they can meet the judge’s expectations. The most common things that judges look for when evaluating artists’ artwork are creativity, originality, interpretation of the theme, quality, overall design, demonstration of artistic ability, and usage of an artist’s chosen medium. All of these things are considered during the jurying process and it’s important for artists to take all of these criteria into consideration when selecting which of their artwork to submit.
Try to enter as many pieces of art work as the guidelines will allow as this will increase the odds of getting your art work noticed by the judges. This also helps to demonstrate to the jury that you have more outstanding pieces and an overall body of work.
Artists should always follow the size, resolution and quality settings that the organization requests. The main reason for this requirement is to standardize the judging process. When all of the entries are the same size (longest side of the image) and same resolution, it will help the jurors compare “apples to apples”. Therefore, if the organization asks for certain sized submissions in terms of pixels or inches, this should be followed.
Artists don’t have to buy expensive programs like Photoshop or Photoshop Elements to accomplish this requirement. There are many free image editing programs available online including http://pixlr.com/express/, http://www.gimp.org/ and http://www.simpleimageresizer.com/ to name a few.
There are many times that jurors will choose one person’s art over another person’s because the quality of the image submitted was poor. When paintings are photographed or scanned for presentation purposes, the image may be poorly cropped (showing part of the mat or frame), turn out too dark or too light or the colors or contrast may be out of balance.
If your work is 3 dimensional, be sure to provide multiple views of the work if allowed. This gives the juror a complete view of the work for jurying purposes. In addition, photograph it in an appropriate setting with a neutral background and good lighting.
Artists should present their work to the gallery and jurors as if they were trying to sell their art to them in person. Artists only get one chance to impress the jurors and this is not the time to get sloppy with your art submission.
Many art organizations want an artist biography or an artist’s statement as part of their entry package. Prior to entering an art competition, an artist should have both a bio and artist statement prepared and ready to be distributed. No matter what the artist’s experience or art education, if asked to provide these materials, artists should meet this requirement to the best of their ability.
Well-written biographies and statements can help an artist in being accepted into a show. Artists should have several different sized bios prepared and available to simplify this process.
Enter as many shows as possible and/or as many as you can afford. You want to do this for a couple of reasons. First, you need to expose your art to as many people as possible. Second, you are trying to develop your resume and by entering as many shows as possible you will build your resume more quickly. Third, by entering a lot of shows, you can become more familiar with the themes and the parameters of each show that will help you match your work more closely, thus increasing your chances of being accepted.
Finally, don’t get upset or think negatively about yourself and your art if you are not accepted into a show. The decision whether your art is accepted or not is a very subjective judgment from the person who is making that decision. It does not necessarily mean your art is not good. It very well could be the result of your presentation or not following the competition rules.
It takes courage for an artist to enter their work into art competitions, as they are potentially exposing their art to the possibility of rejection. Yet, by successfully participating in these events over time, artists will build their resumes and increase their chances of being taken more seriously by art galleries, art buyers and art reps.
Therefore, make sure your art is prepared and submitted in the way in which that organization wants your art presented. Don’t give them a reason to reject your art by either not following the rules or by not providing them with art that is gallery worthy.
Fusion Art, LLC
Santa Fe, NM