Artists enter awards for a number of reasons. If you are confident and think that you’re good enough, then it’s only natural that you’re interested to see how good you really are when judged by your peers. Entering purely for the money is not the way to go. In most cases it’s a costly exercise to create, enter and send (post) an entry, and it’s not getting any cheaper!
I don’t believe that entering art awards is ego-based. Yes, an artist has to have self-belief, but one should never think that one is superior to everyone else. Art awards soon bring one back to earth rather quickly!
For me, entering awards is a challenge. I almost exclusively these days work in coloured pencil. I am fortunate in Tasmania that many of the art awards are open to a broad range of mediums. Coloured pencil is readily accepted by judges. I wish that the (buying) public would think the same. Many love coloured pencil work, but don’t seem to ‘trust’ them as artworks that would suit their walls at home.
In my forthcoming (March) exhibition I have added an ‘assurance’ on my artist’s statement informing patrons of the quality of my work.
It’s all well and good to have a strong belief in one’s ability, but what happens when sales dwindle and you consistently fail to impress either judges or art patrons in the awards (exhibitions) you enter? This is known as depression and at times it can be rather deep. I know, I’ve been there.
What does one do in this situation? Some simply give up, others decide to paint what people like (if that doesn’t work, things get rather grim) or they take the option I chose – paint ‘smarter’. By that I mean paint for specific awards and exhibitions where you feel that you have a chance. Paint work that is ‘different’, but paint it well. Only frame what you consider is ‘A grade’, and frame it well, don’t skimp on framing materials. Great work needs to be displayed accordingly. Don’t paint for long periods, give yourself a break and do something different to balance each day. Visit galleries, see what’s being painted by other artists. I tend to my garden and I find it rather therapeutic, it’s something different for me to do. Oddly enough, it’s during times like these that I get ideas for paintings!
Rejection, failure and depression are all cruel and demeaning, but they can be overcome. Firstly, we have to want to overcome them, if we do, we must then do something about it. Talking to a fellow artist can be an enriching experience. I feel privileged to be in the situation where I have some wonderful ’artist friends’ to whom I can share with.
Having your artwork rejected is not the time to get angry, it’s the time to find out’ why’, and if (as is often the case) you can’t get any answers, take a long hard look at your painting. If you still feel ‘cheesed off’, enter it in another award like I did (today’s photo).
Never, ever, ever give up!