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Triage for applying to shows


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#1 Kohaku

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Posted 19 June 2013 - 05:23 PM

Stock disclaimer: I did a search to see if this topic had been addressed directly- apologies if I missed something.

So- I'm wading through the many juried art show opportunities online. I'm trying to decide on some criteria for allocating my money and energies when considering applying to these. (Note- by 'show', I'm referring to juried opportunities to display work online or in a gallery setting, as opposed to craft or art fairs where you have a booth).

My goal is basically to enhance my exposure as a ceramic artist, and also to diversify CV that is heavy on wildlife biology and less heavy on formal accomplishments in ceramics. It seems pretty clear, however, that at least some of the 'contests' advertised online border on scams, while others may be extreme long shots for people working in wheel-based ceramics. Between the $35 fees (at minimum) and the energy invested, I could see this being a huge time and money sink.

First- I'm curious as to how many working potters put significant time/energy into applying to any shows or contests. Have any of you decided that this simply isn't a good investment of time or money?

So- I'm curious as to what people use as criteria in deciding what to apply to. For example (just a few off the top of my head)...
  • Only applying to shows that have a ceramics theme?
  • Only applying to shows that seem directly focused on some dimension of your personal style?
  • Only applying to shows that have a physical gallery presence (or the converse)?
  • Only applying to regional shows?
  • Only applying to shows that encompass work you've already made (vs. targeting work to specific shows)?
I may post a few examples of shows I'm considering applying to... but I'll start here for now...
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#2 Chris Campbell

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Posted 19 June 2013 - 07:58 PM

Good question. Unfortunately, no easy answer.
If the theme seems to fit your work, bonus ... but no guarantees
I've been told to check out the jurors work for a clue .... but that's not true.
They are jurying a show, with a theme, not their own booth.

I would say you should check out the sponsors to see what quality they represent.
If their past shows have been wonderful, then you can trust that your work will be judged fairly.

Also, everyone should trust the Potters Council Show and make a piece to enter!!

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#3 Kohaku

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Posted 19 June 2013 - 09:26 PM

Also, everyone should trust the Potters Council Show and make a piece to enter!!


Definitely plan to this year! I really like the current theme.
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#4 justanassembler

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Posted 19 June 2013 - 10:35 PM

Stock disclaimer: I did a search to see if this topic had been addressed directly- apologies if I missed something.

So- I'm wading through the many juried art show opportunities online. I'm trying to decide on some criteria for allocating my money and energies when considering applying to these. (Note- by 'show', I'm referring to juried opportunities to display work online or in a gallery setting, as opposed to craft or art fairs where you have a booth).

My goal is basically to enhance my exposure as a ceramic artist, and also to diversify CV that is heavy on wildlife biology and less heavy on formal accomplishments in ceramics. It seems pretty clear, however, that at least some of the 'contests' advertised online border on scams, while others may be extreme long shots for people working in wheel-based ceramics. Between the $35 fees (at minimum) and the energy invested, I could see this being a huge time and money sink.

First- I'm curious as to how many working potters put significant time/energy into applying to any shows or contests. Have any of you decided that this simply isn't a good investment of time or money?

So- I'm curious as to what people use as criteria in deciding what to apply to. For example (just a few off the top of my head)...

  • Only applying to shows that have a ceramics theme?
  • Only applying to shows that seem directly focused on some dimension of your personal style?
  • Only applying to shows that have a physical gallery presence (or the converse)?
  • Only applying to regional shows?
  • Only applying to shows that encompass work you've already made (vs. targeting work to specific shows)?
I may post a few examples of shows I'm considering applying to... but I'll start here for now...


-Applying to shows with a ceramic theme can be good if your work caters to that sort of audience--it really depends.
-Applying to shows that are focused on elements of your work is always a good idea, but you really never know--sometimes paying attention to who the juror(s) is (are) is more helpful--usually its a crapshoot either way.
-I've never applied to "virtual" shows/galleries, and on its face it doesn't seem like it would be worth it, but I'd love to hear someone who can show me evidence otherwise.
-Applying to regional shows can be helpful if the work is heavy or unwieldy to ship--freight bills can be killer.

I would say that the number one consideration you should have is to make sure that you have really GOOD images. At big shows, the juror(s) will be looking through hundreds of images, and if yours gives the immediate impression of being unprofessional, they probably won't give it a second look. There is a thread that I and others posted some good information on getting quality images here

I would say that the caveat for me is that I am not a "working potter". I divide my time as a technician for a university, and my studio... I am interested in advancing myself within the academic field of ceramics, and as such having an exhibition record is really mandatory. If you are simply interested in selling pots, there are many working potters on here who can undoubtedly address your question from their point of view better than I.

In the end, it is a huge time and money sink--the question you have to ask is the one you are driving at with your ancillary questions--is it worth it to YOU, and does it help you achieve what you want to achieve?

#5 Kohaku

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 06:16 AM

In the end, it is a huge time and money sink--the question you have to ask is the one you are driving at with your ancillary questions--is it worth it to YOU, and does it help you achieve what you want to achieve?


Nice encapsulation.

Given that my methods (surface carving, multiple glaze application) are pretty time intensive, I'd like to be able to market my work in some higher end venues. Where- exactly- to do this (and whether my work has evolved enough) are separate questions.

I have been noticing, however, that some of the online galleries (such as the artful home, or the Schaller Gallery) ask for a CV from their applicants. While I'm sure the quality of the work is important (and the images, as you mention)... I'd also guess that a CV that's front loaded with more biology than art would be a red flag. I'm guessing that representation in some juried shows could help. This- therefore- is one reason that I think it might be worth it to me.

In a broader sense, I'd like to promote myself better. I don't have a robust sense as to the 'impact' of online vs. physical show venues... or ways to discriminate quality in different shows. Chris gives some good suggestions above... but I'd be interested in other people's ideas.

David
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#6 justanassembler

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 08:39 AM


In the end, it is a huge time and money sink--the question you have to ask is the one you are driving at with your ancillary questions--is it worth it to YOU, and does it help you achieve what you want to achieve?


Nice encapsulation.

Given that my methods (surface carving, multiple glaze application) are pretty time intensive, I'd like to be able to market my work in some higher end venues. Where- exactly- to do this (and whether my work has evolved enough) are separate questions.

I have been noticing, however, that some of the online galleries (such as the artful home, or the Schaller Gallery) ask for a CV from their applicants. While I'm sure the quality of the work is important (and the images, as you mention)... I'd also guess that a CV that's front loaded with more biology than art would be a red flag. I'm guessing that representation in some juried shows could help. This- therefore- is one reason that I think it might be worth it to me.

In a broader sense, I'd like to promote myself better. I don't have a robust sense as to the 'impact' of online vs. physical show venues... or ways to discriminate quality in different shows. Chris gives some good suggestions above... but I'd be interested in other people's ideas.

David


David,
I guess I should have been more specific--places like schaller, akar, crimson-laurel, etc. are great places to show and sell--there are however, a greater number of scammy no-name "online galleries" that pop up with calls for entry now and again. Stick with names you know and names that have some kind of history--if it smells fishy, it likely is. In terms of building a CV though, just apply to as many shows as you can--don't forget to put workshops and professional associations on there (potters council member? NCECA member?) those are important too.



#7 GEP

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 09:49 AM

From a working potter's perspective ... for me these types of shows are not worth the time. I can spend the same amount of effort and fee to apply for a good quality art festival, where I stand to make a few thousand dollars. Or I can apply for these exhibitions where, if I'm lucky, I might net $100. Having said that, I do apply for the Strictly Functional show almost every year, because that show does deliver some real national exposure. Although, I assign all of my advanced students to apply for this, just to teach them the process of "putting it out there." If it was not a class project, I probably would not do it. In my region is a terrific ceramics institution that puts on some nice shows. I have applied for their shows, because I like the people there, and I don't need to ship things to them. However, I see their call for entries and think I'm interested, but usually I don't get around to it. I am just not motivated enough and there are too many other things on my to-do list.

There might be some value for you on a personal level, just to see how your work fares in a competitive environment. Does it do well on a regional level? Does it do well on a national level? But not to make any income, or to develop a resume. Do it for yourself, not to impress anyone.

As for the criteria questions in your original post, I say "yes" to them all. Those are all smart things to consider. I wouldn't even consider anything else. Especially the one about making a custom piece just to target a specific show, would never do that.

I work with some upscale craft galleries, and I have never once been asked for a resume! Nor have I ever been asked where I went to college. These things honestly don't matter in this industry. What really matters is the substance and quality of your work, and who you are as a person. And yes, the photographs matter too. The photos need to be amazing as a baseline for judging your work clearly.

If places like Artful Home are asking for a resume, I would bet this is just a formality, and it will not affect any buying decisions. If you need to put a resume together, it should only be about your ceramics accomplilshments: where you've studied, where you've taught, any shows, any awards. You can mention that you also have another career in biology, but you're right you should not use your biology resume.

Mea
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#8 OffCenter

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 10:23 AM

Only a few shows are worth it. Strictly Functional was one of the best but now that they no longer show past shows, it has lost the main reason that it was such a good show.

Jim
E pur si muove.

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#9 Kohaku

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 02:30 PM

Here's an example of a show I'm considering applying to.

http://linusgallery....-speaks-july-1/

I'm impressed with the quality of the past shows, and the theme of the current show (expression of nature in art) relates to the wildlife and marine imagery that I use on a number of my pieces.

They do include 'wall sculpture' in the prospectus, so I'm considering sending a couple of mosaic-style plates. I enjoy making these (here's an example that fractured in a recent firing).

Posted Image

On the down-side, it's way the b'jeebus down in LA, there isn't a clear ceramic focus, and it's another $35 out of pocket.

Just one of many similar decisions I'm struggling with... curious as to what people think.
Not all who wander are lost

#10 OffCenter

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 05:13 PM

Here's an example of a show I'm considering applying to.

http://linusgallery....-speaks-july-1/

I'm impressed with the quality of the past shows, and the theme of the current show (expression of nature in art) relates to the wildlife and marine imagery that I use on a number of my pieces.

They do include 'wall sculpture' in the prospectus, so I'm considering sending a couple of mosaic-style plates. I enjoy making these (here's an example that fractured in a recent firing).

Posted Image

On the down-side, it's way the b'jeebus down in LA, there isn't a clear ceramic focus, and it's another $35 out of pocket.

Just one of many similar decisions I'm struggling with... curious as to what people think.


Nice plate, Kohaku. Maybe it's time for you to do some kintsukuroi.

Jim
E pur si muove.

"But it does move," said Galileo under his breath.

#11 Kohaku

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 06:16 PM

Nice plate, Kohaku. Maybe it's time for you to do some kintsukuroi.

Jim


Now that is a really intriguing idea...

Of course... as with almost all topics on this site... John has a specific and detailed explanation of the process- with links. Sounds tricky. Poison ivy style rash until you develop a tolerance for the urushi?

Yowza...

Edit: Thanks for the kind words about the plate.
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#12 Mark C.

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 06:49 PM

For me its a waste of time money and energy so I choose to let others go for it and pay no attention-
If you are chasing a teaching job maybe this feather in your cap will help but its a maybe at best.
I focus on better returns for my work.
Mark
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#13 Kohaku

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Posted 21 June 2013 - 07:32 AM

For me its a waste of time money and energy so I choose to let others go for it and pay no attention-
If you are chasing a teaching job maybe this feather in your cap will help but its a maybe at best.
I focus on better returns for my work.
Mark


This seems to be a pretty solid consensus here- from people who would probably know. Thanks. I might still try a few of these for the hell of it... but it's good to know that I don't have to obsessively plumb yet another rabbit hole...
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#14 GEP

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Posted 21 June 2013 - 07:37 AM

Here's an example of a show I'm considering applying to.

http://linusgallery....-speaks-july-1/

I'm impressed with the quality of the past shows, and the theme of the current show (expression of nature in art) relates to the wildlife and marine imagery that I use on a number of my pieces.

They do include 'wall sculpture' in the prospectus, so I'm considering sending a couple of mosaic-style plates. I enjoy making these (here's an example that fractured in a recent firing).

Posted Image

On the down-side, it's way the b'jeebus down in LA, there isn't a clear ceramic focus, and it's another $35 out of pocket.

Just one of many similar decisions I'm struggling with... curious as to what people think.


This is a show I would definitely avoid. First of all, the "extended deadline" is a red flag. It means they did not get enough worthy submissions so far. So even if your work is selected, it might not have been a competitive situation. Also, there is no ceramics focus, therefore you will not receive any meaningful affirmation about the ceramics merit of your work. It appears your work will be judged by someone who likes the painting of the deer in a dress with the wallpaper background.

Mea
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#15 Kohaku

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Posted 21 June 2013 - 08:01 AM

It appears your work will be judged by someone who likes the painting of the deer in a dress with the wallpaper background.

Mea


Yeah- I noted that as well.

Here's one that I did apply to (before receiving some of the current feedback- I should note!)

https://www.onlineju....aspx?OJSID=146

Not a ceramic focus, and doesn't seem to be particularly selective- based on the number of applicants and accepted pieces. However, the city is near my family's house (so it's a place I visit anyhow). The marintime theme fits my work.
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#16 OffCenter

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Posted 21 June 2013 - 08:45 AM


It appears your work will be judged by someone who likes the painting of the deer in a dress with the wallpaper background.

Mea


Yeah- I noted that as well.

Here's one that I did apply to (before receiving some of the current feedback- I should note!)

https://www.onlineju....aspx?OJSID=146

Not a ceramic focus, and doesn't seem to be particularly selective- based on the number of applicants and accepted pieces. However, the city is near my family's house (so it's a place I visit anyhow). The marintime theme fits my work.


I think you'll do better sticking with shows that do have a ceramic focus and mentions sculptural work. Check out the "Call For Entries" section of the latest Ceramics Monthly. Be sure to check the show and juror out as much as possible. Some shows are just money-making scams. Also, good shows (and Strictly Functional just fell off my list of good shows because of this) keep at least several years of shows up on their websites that you can view.

Jim
E pur si muove.

"But it does move," said Galileo under his breath.




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