Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Opps Q & A, Part 2

Should artists focus on opportunities that are local to them? When does it make sense to expand outside the local region, state, country?

In the beginning, stick to local shows. Consider this as practice, learning. Whether to expand outside this region depends on your goals, the sort of work you do and whether these further-away opps fit you time and budget constraints.

 How beneficial are juried shows? Should all artists do them?

 It all depends on what sort of work you do and what your goals are.

Entering a juried show on a whim is about as useful as buying a lottery ticket. It might work, but the odds are against it. In a way, it's more harmful, because you don't have an ego investment in the lottery ticket. If you loose you're out a buck. If you get rejected from the juried show, however -- and if you haven't done your research you probably will be-- you'll probably be al least a little depresed doubt you worth as an artist for a little while.

Entering juried shows should be done as part of a thougtful plan. Of course you have to experiment in the beginning and that means spinning your wheels some. What you do after the show is of the utmnost importance. Go to the show if you are physically able. Note what sort of work was accepted. Think about whether this was the right kind of show to enter. Note the names and occupations of the jurors. After entering a few shows, you may see some patterns emerge. I have a good friend (and charter subscriber to AOM) who started out entering the shows put on by her local photography club. After the first two, in which her submissions were rated as being last or next to last, she decide that photo clubs were not her venue, although they might be for others. She entered other shows, making the notes and observations mentioned above, always looking for the types of jurors and types of shows and competitions that seemed to fit her work best. She continued this process for several years and as of today, has had more than a dozen important solo shows around the world, including museum shows, has had her work reproduced in *The New Yorker*, *Harper'*. *O, The Oprah Magazine* and many others. Her work is now in about 20 museum collections in the US, the UK, Europe and Asia.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Opps Q & A

We recently received a list of questions from an artist who is preparing an article on opportunities. Here and the first few and our answers. We'll publish more later.

How can artists determine what juried shows might be best for them?

First, look at the site of the organization sponsoring the call to see if your work is more or less a good fit in terms of type and aesthetic outlook. For instance, if your work is abstract and none of the work on the site is, it's probably best to move on. Or if you do straigtforward landscapes but the site is all fantasy and surrealist. Or your work appeals to a contemporary viewership but the show only traditional images. And so on.

If the site passes that test, make sure you meet the restrictions as to age range, media, size of work, geographic location, etc., in the call. Twenty-five to 40 percent off all work submitted never gets to the the jury because it was disqualified immediately for not having met one or more of such requirements or the image(s) sent were the wrong fomat or size. The artist gets nothing, the organization keeps the submission fee.

What are the top "red flags" that suggest a call for entries might be bogus
or something to avoid?

If the site is offering framing, art consultation, or other services for artists or for customers, it is at best a private business running a competition as a way of generating income -- if it is charging a submission fee. It may not be bogus, but the odds are slim that your work will be seen by the sort of people you want it seen by, and the odds that it will be sold are slimmer.

"Advertise-y" language or hype is usually a tip off.

Also, look at the "About" section of the site. You can see pretty quickly whether it is for-profit gallery that is charging a submission fee or a non-profit. In general, avoid the for-profits unless you know something about them. Also, if it is a for-profit business but is not charging a submission fee, check to see if therer are additional fees, such as a "hanging" or "initiation" fee. Such"galleries" make their money not from sales (because they rarely if ever make sales) but directly from the artists they con into paying them.

Do a Google search on the gallery name and the owner name. If you turn up nothing or nothing good, move on at least for now.

What are the top things to look for that underscore a good opportunity?

In general, established calls -- ones that have been around for at least a few years -- are better because they have worked out the kinks. Look for something not too expensive to enter but that offers good rewards in terms of what you are looking for: solo show, cash, more exposure, etc. The prestige of the organization and or the juror(s) should be considered. But mostly you have to decide if the fit is good for you based on where you are in your career and how being in this show or winning this competiton will help.