entering art competitions

Are you Entering Art Competitions Correctly?

When entering art competitions many works are not being submitted properly, thoroughly or are not showing the artist’s artwork in its best light. It can be a shame, as there is some very good art that does not get into some shows due to the manner by which the artist has submitted their work.

When entering art competitions, try to make sure that you are not making some of these common mistakes:

1. Thoroughly Understand the Competition’s Theme & Allowed Media

Understand what the art organisation (who is running the competition) wants from the artist. If the prospectus or rules state that the competition is for 2 dimensional art, do not submit your jewellery, sculpture or crafts. If it says no photography, do not expect the organisation to provide to you an exception. There are numerous other venues and organisations who are conducting calls for your type of art.

If you have any questions or concerns about the theme or what is acceptable media, contact and discuss this with the organisation’s event staff first, prior to submitting your art. You can save yourself and the event staff a lot of trouble, wasted time, effort and money.

2. Apply Only to Competitions That Truly Fit Your Art

In their haste to submit, artists will sometimes miss what the organisation is really after in terms of the theme or the parameters of the competition. For instance, an artist who submits their “Black and White” photography into a competition with a theme about “Bold or Bright Colours” will get rejected. I know there are people reading this who are saying “but black and white are colours too!” Yes they are, but black and white are not in keeping with the spirit of the theme and within the scope of the show.

Many times the submitted artwork is fantastic, but again it is not what is asked for and the artist has wasted their time and money by placing their art into a competition that just is not suited for the media or for what they create.

3. Follow the Rules and Event Prospectus Instructions

This means that in order to have your application and submissions handled and administered properly read the application thoroughly and follow their instructions. It also, means that the application should be filled out entirely, with the correct amount of images and the image files labelled properly, according to the organisations specifications.  Read the rules 2 – 3 times before submitting to be on the safe side.

4. Label the Entries in Their Format, Not Yours

The art group or organisation who is conducting the call for art will want the entries in a certain form for identifying, administering and for judging purposes. By not labelling your entries properly, your art may not be judged if it is lost or mishandled due to this issue. And of course, don’t forget to actually label your entries!

5. Follow the Organisation’s Sizing Requirements

If the group or art organisation is asking for certain size submissions in terms of pixels or inches and resolution, follow it. There is no excuse to not have the art sized properly as there are many free art editing programmes that can be downloaded from or used online.

Follow the size, resolution and quality settings that they are asking for. The main reason for this is that they are trying to standardise the judging process and if all of the entries are the same size (longest side of the image) and same resolution it will help the juror to make a better judgement and decision about your art.

6. Provide Good Quality Images Without Frames

Often, the jurors have to choose someone else’s art over yours because the quality of image was poor. The artist’s presentation to the gallery and the jurors should be as if they were trying to sell your art to them in person. You only get one chance to impress the juror and this is not the time to get sloppy with your art submission.

7. Provide a Biography If They Ask For It

Many times, competition jurors do not receive a biography with the artist’s submissions. Either the artist is too busy, is lazy or embarrassed to provide a biography. This brief amount of information could possibly help the artist in getting accepted into that show. There have been times when a certain artist’s work has been accepted into the show, only to find out that they have not provided a biography. This will usually lead to the artwork not being used for that exhibition. Have several different sized bios ready-made and available that will help in this purpose for future competitions.

8. Do Not Exceed What is Asked for or Required for the Competition

Don’t deviate from the rules. This can be anything from sizing, to resolution, to image type, to quality settings, to framing specs, to artist statement, to deadlines, etc.

Entering your art into a show is not like school where you will get extra credit. Just follow the rules, exactly as they say to. If you do not understand something then call the appropriate person in charge to get your question answered or clarified.

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, it is through these competitions and being accepted into these shows that your art will be considered “serious”. Art shows and competitions are a necessary evil and it is something that all artists must go through.


Article from Artsy Shark here


Photo by jumpinjimmyjava

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