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Juried Art Shows

Last month, i took 3 paintings to a jury for the Hyde Park Art show in Cincinnati, Ohio. I chose paintings that were similar in theme which I considered to be strong work.

The judging was held in a community center in the neighborhood where the show was to be held. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but i was surpised to see over 100 artists waiting in line with a number.

One judge was assigned for each category, painting, crafts, sculpture, photography, etc. The judge for painting was a young woman, possibly younger than me.

While in line, I watched her body language while reviewing the other artist’s work. She was animated, and having some intense dialogue with the artists. I noticed that when an artist brought work that I considered to be exceptionally well done, the judge would pick up her clipboard and make notes after the artist leaves. She did not do this after reviewing what I considered to be a weak body of work.

The Hyde Park Show is a very prestigious show in Cincinnati. It has a reputation for excellence, so all the best collectors and dealers attend and purchase. This makes the show very desirable for any artist in the region. Getting into this show is very important for my plan as an artist. I was at wits end when my number was finally called for judging.

While my work was being reviewed, I had no idea what kind of questions the judge would ask. Ideally, she would comment on how good the work was, and tell me that she definately wanted me in the show. That didn’t exactly happen. Instead, she started critiquing my work. She suggested that I show how my paintings of farm animals interact with my life. She also warned that I might be at risk of producing gimmicky work. Finally, she added that she did not think that contemporary artists should sign the front of their work. It takes away from the art. You should sign either the matting or the back of the work.

I left the building with a sinking feeling in my gut. The judge did say nice things about my work also, but the negative things just stuck in my mind. It looked like in the corner of my eye, I saw her pick up her pen and clipboard…but maybe it was just to scratch her nose. I know that juries are very subjective, and not to take these things personal. It took a while to shake it of, after talking with a few friends who are successful artists. Experiences like this are common in the business. It was reassuring to hear that I am not the only one going through this process.

It turns out she was writing my name on the clipboard after all! I just received my letter of acceptance into the Hyde Park Art Show. Of course, you are all invited to attend. It will be October 1st, 2006 in Hyde Park Square.

I would be interested to hear what you think about this story. I know that everyone goes through this…especially artists who put a very personal type of work on display. I sure hope it gets easier…but it hasn’t yet!

have a great week!
ken Posted by Picasa

3 thoughts on “Juried Art Shows

  1. Ken, your art work is as much of a delight as you are. I feel privileged to have connected with you and watch you grow as an artist over the last few years. Someday I’ll be able to say, “I have a Ken Swinson original. One of his orginal pottery pieces of the sunshine ducks!” I’ve put the show’s date on my calendar. Best of luck!

  2. It is no suprise that your work was accepted in the exhibition. You’re extremely talented, you know that or you would’nt have presented your work. There’s no need for doubt. It’s a unnneccesary detour from you destiny. Own your greatestness! End of story.

  3. hey ken,

    congrats on all your recent achievements!!! but now i have to post on this blog about your juried art experience.

    i don’t mind the age, young is better sometimes, because their minds have not yet become tainted by the infinite world of art, both good and bad.

    as for her choice of words for “critiquing” your art as gimmicky work, as well as, her suggestion. ken, i had to giggle to myself. gimmicky???? how did she come up an adjective like that to describe art so….

    i looked it up in the internet thesaurus and this is what i found: contemporary, fashionable, fresh, gimmicky*, in vogue, modern, modernistic, neoteric, new, new-fashioned, novel, popular, unique.

    that is your art! freshly unique and very popular and sought after by contemporary art collectors! too bad she made it sound kind of negative, but i now see it as positive:)

    as for the advice: showing that you show how farm animals interact with your life. she doesn’t know you so therefore she doesn’t understand that your art does reflect the way you and the farm animals around you react in your life. i had a julien dupre vision of you pulling a cow to the barn to milk when i read that, lol…not you!

    ok now for the signing the matte and/or back? this is such ludicrous advice and an insult to the entire art world from the beginning of time. not to mention copyright reasons, provenance and i think a date should be included next to the signature ON THE FRONT. on the back you can title and sign it again. but there are so many reasons to sign on the front. i cannot tell you how, in the secondary art market, it is so important that a painting is signed and dated on the front, especially if the artist is deceased and the work has not been cataloged. artists change their medium, style, subjects and brush strokes, but the signature, basically, always remains the same. i could go on and on about this, but i hope all the artists out there already know this and so the subject is moot. the exception could be those artists that do not sign because they don’t like think their work is good to put their signature on it.

    btw, one of my favorite things to do is to go to a museum and from a distance pick out famous artists’ works and then go closer to read the signature to see if i got it right. i get a real rush out of that. NOW can you see me…ummm docent, sir, madam, could you take that painting off the wall, i don’t believe it is what your card says it is, i want to look at the back to see the actual signature. so many fake out there…yes and lots in museums.

    ok enough already, you are thinking right? this is my 2 cents for now. it is so beautiful outside, i want to go out, paint and sign the front!

    peace love and happiness,

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