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« 6 Miss-Takes to Avoid at Art Fairs | Main | How Much is That Painting in the Window? »

Are You Making These Six Art Competition Mistakes?

Guest Blogger John Math, Light Space & Time Online Art Gallery

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Light Space & Time Online Art Gallery conducts monthly themed online art competitions and monthly online art exhibitions for new and emerging artists (2D and 3D artists) on a worldwide basis. 

Artists – if you want to have more success from your efforts - avoid making these common mistakes when entering juried art calls and art competitions:

1.   Not Understanding the Rules before Submitting Artwork

The art organization conducting the call for art developed competition rules to administer, process and judge the art in a thorough and systematic manner.

The organization wants to identify and judge the best art for their competition. They have very good reasons why they want the submitted artwork to be labeled, sized and named in a certain way.

Always try to understand exactly what the organization wants and then conform to their entry process.

2.   Not Understanding the Competition’s Theme & Media

Understand what the group wants for this particular competition.  If it says that they accept 2 dimensional art, do not submit 3 dimensional art or crafts. If it says no photography, do not expect the organization to provide you with an exception. There are many other venues and organizations who are conducting calls for your type of art.

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

3.  Not Understanding Judging Criteria for the Art Contest

Read and reread the theme, rules and judging criteria closely and thoroughly.  If you don’t understand the organization’s Competition Prospectus or answers to your questions are either not spelled out thoroughly or are omitted, then it is up to you to get these questions and points answered. 

When in doubt, call the organization and have them clarified.

If at that point, you cannot honestly meet the competition rules and judging criteria, don’t waste your entry fees or any more of the organization’s time. (See 1 and 2 above.)

4.   Provide a Biography or Artist’s Statement If Required

Most art organizations want an artist biography or an artist’s statement as part of their entry package.  Well-written biographies and statements can help you be accepted into a show, so have several different sized bios prepared and available to simplify this process.

No matter what your experience or art education, if you are asked to provide artist biography or an artist’s statement, meet this requirement to the best of your ability. 

5.   Failure to Follow the Art Organization’s Sizing Requirements

Most competitions request certain sized submissions in terms of pixels or inches. There is no excuse not to have the art sized properly as there are many free art editing programs available online. (Among others, Microsoft’s Paint Program can be used for this purpose).

The main reason for this requirement is to standardize 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 jury judge and make decisions about the art.

Always follow the size, resolution and quality settings that the organization requests.

6.   Failure to Provide the Best Quality Images

Art organizations often choose one person’s art over another person’s because of the quality of the image submitted.  When paintings are photographed or scanned for presentation purposes, the image may be poorly cropped (showing part of the mat or frame), turn out too dark or too light or the colors or contrast may be out of balance.

Present your work to the gallery and jurors as if you 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.

There is a reason why they call it a “competition.”

You are competing with all of the other submissions for a limited number of places in that organization’s art exhibition.

Do not give them a reason to reject your art by either not following the rules or by not providing them with art that is gallery worthy.

Do make sure your art is prepared and submitted in the way in which that organization wants your art presented. 
Contact: John R. Math
Telephone: 888-490-3530
Since 2010, Light Space & Time Online Art Gallery has received, processed, and judged thousands of entries for monthly themed online art competitions. 

If you’ve never entered competitions, here are a few articles I’ve written:

The Ins and Outs of Juried Shows  

Juried Shows: Three Good Reasons to Enter 

Juried Shows: Enter the S.M.A.R.T. Way 

Juried Shows: A Juror's Inside Story 

The Backstory of a Juror's Inside Story  

Let me know how I can help you make a decision to enter. The first 15 minutes is on me.

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