Thursday, December 23, 2010

Searhing AOM for you Medium

Dear AOM: There are few shows in AOM are for watercolors ... and no show seemed be calling for work such as mine, which is personal rather than typical, as you can see by the example in the AOM Gallery. --A Subscriber

Dear Sub,

You are right that listings strictly for watercolor -- those in the section called Watercolor and Watermedia -- are usually for work that is more academic than yours. This will tend to be true when the jurors have NWA or NWS after their names.

But in each issue of AOM, there are dozens of other shows that accept all sorts of watercolors, even give them prizes. Start by looking in the top section, All Media. Each entry marked "All" or "2D" potentially accepts water media. Then use Adobe Reader's Full search function to find those marked "2D" works "on paper", as well as those marked WM or WC but which are in the Various Media or other sections.

Here's what I found in the December issue:

All: 72
2D: 28
on paper: 4
WC: 11
WM: 5

That's a total of 120. Now, some of those are duplicates; i. e., one call lists more than one of them, such as listing both WC and WM. And some are things you might not be interested in right now, such as residencies or fellowships or curatorial calls. But that still leaves a huge number of potential opps that will accept watercolors.

You can read through each quickly to see if it is worth investigating further. For instance, you would quickly eliminate those looking for a subject matter or theme outside what you have or are interested in. If the call passes that test, go to the website sponsoring the show and see if there is a real reason your work might not fit, such as it being abundantly clear from the images that their aesthetic or philosophy is antithetical to yours, completely different in some meaningful way. Remember, though, that you can't tell what a juror will like based on his or her work. Some will prefer work that is quite different, some will prefer work that is sort of the same and some will try to "mix it up" for the show, picking what they think represents a good variety.

And everything about watercolor above applies to any other medium.