‘Yes’ and ‘No’ are the two most powerful words in the art world, and I suspect in everyone else’s lives. Just one word can mean the difference between success and failure, a dream or a nightmare, the will to continue or to simply give up.
Everybody loves a ‘winner’, especially here in Australia. The word ‘loser’ is often employed as a ‘put-down’, a sign of defeat and loss. If you don’t come up to the mark you can often be labelled as a failure.
Life is full of risks and challenges and art is no exception. If artists want to be ‘seen’ they must step out of the comfort zone of commercial fine art and take an individual approach in the way they ‘see’. Most artists though are happy to work ‘safely’, being more concerned with producing art that pleases the majority of patrons,that in turn will equates to steady sales. But what if your work isn’t popular or doesn’t sell? Does a ‘No’ equate to being a failure? Are those artists who sell their work a success?
To be a practising artist is one thing, to be a practising artist who shows their work in the public domain is another very different matter. It takes bravery to show one’s work in public, because it’s where opinions are shared, decisions made and judgements are cast.
Artists need to have thick skins especially when it comes to entering their work in art awards, big or small. This is where they are at the mercy of selectors and judges who make decisions behind closed doors that may change an artist’s life forever, for better or worse.
One should never enter an art award ‘blind’. Research is required into every aspect of the ward in question. It is during this time of ‘research’ that you should get some ideas of what (historically) the judges are looking for. Very few awards have the same judges year after year, but the criteria are usually fixed to some degree.
This doesn’t mean that you paint what is ‘required’, but that you paint with each award’s criteria in mind. Most awards encourage ‘cleverness and uniqueness’ and being ‘different’, will often mean being noticed by those in authority.
Why do artists enter awards?