Updated: Jun 13, 2020
A while back I did a video about what being a successful artist is.
In the video I outlined different types of artists. And also provided my opinion regarding
how art is judged today.
I choose not to enter Juried Art Shows for the following:
In my experience, while large Art Shows specially at an international level (Think Venice Bienale), are usually judged by three people; at the local level it is typically just one.
Let's thing about a couple of factors that may impact the way this person will judge:
The person woke up in a good or bad mood that day.
Previous or present personal experiences that may trigger some reaction to colors and moods. There is also Favoritism,
And then we have to add the factor of Art Knowledge. Notice that I said knowledge and not education. Art knowledge today is more vast and accurate than regular art education.
How ever techniques are changing, mediums are changing and art expression is changing. So if the person judging is not knowledgeable in every art subject available from past to present, then is that person qualified to judge a competition?
And what is it that you want to be judge by?
Your accurate technique? Your realistic art? Water color category? Photography? Sculpture? film? Ceramic? Accumulate ribbons?
Back in the mid nineties, when I was starting my professional career, I spent hundreds of dollars entering competitions. And some I entered through well established art publications (yes before everything went WWW), submitting film slides (hilarious) and then Discs. And the funny thing was that I will get accepted and then there were some hidden fees, or the well known, "you get accepted and here are the prices for our wall rentals". And I was like huh!
So I stopped submitting because I realized that all I wanted was to know where I was standing in the art world.
I decided to switch to local art groups. I stayed away from submitting my work for review or judging and just watched from behind the scenes. In the meantime, I was showing my art to the word thanks to social media which in 2001 was very minimal still. But got picked by a couple of galleries through doing that.
Around 2003 I was reading an article about a Canadian gallery that will just place the title of the piece and the price on the wall card, but not the artist name. Also the art pieces were judged by the public over a month period. And then they will mention the results.
I absolutely loved that concept! Everybody was anonymous for a month and the judging was more of a true value done by several art cultured people, art lovers and collectors instead of just one person.
Why would you only get favored by one person, if you can get favored by millions?
Most artists need social feedback to know where they are. And it also depends on what kind of artists you are and I don't mean by medium or style. Once you establish what kind of artist you want to be, then you either need to be judged or not.
I also understand that physical galleries and art groups with physical offices need the support of the patrons and artists themselves to survive; specially through and after this pandemic. They help you in presenting your art, promoting it and selling it. And even if they get a commission out of it, that should be reason enough for you to be proud.
I do belong to a couple of groups I support monetarily, but not to get favoritism or enter competitions, I do it because it is important to support the arts.
In closing, we can not judge art with old fashion standards or by just one person. Art evolves and so should our way to view it, appreciate it and judge it.
With social media now days, you can be judged by millions around the world, if your ultimate goal is recognition, money, fame, or all.