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First of all, the title of this post has nothing to do with leather, bondage, or any weird stuff. It does, however, ask the question, "What do you hope to achieve by going through the submission process to enter a juried art show?"  Yes, I stuck the art word in there, fully understanding the long running debate between art and craft.  This is not about submitting booth display images and/or multiple sample images of one's work for a craft fair, it is about paying a fee, uploading quality images, writing descriptions, preparing artist statements, and submitting all of that (and more) online with the hope of getting one (or two) pieces into an exhibit.

I've read some of the horror stories of shows that fire off blanket calls for submissions in order to attract a large number of application fees, with no intention of actually taking any of them seriously unless the submitting artists have been regulars in the associated show.  I doubt that any of us want to be a part of that.  On the opposite end of that, I am not sufficiently delusional to believe that the quality of my current work has reached such an amazing level that I should expect to walk away with award/prize money from a national show.

 

OK, hang with me...I am getting to the question. I believe there needs to be a reason for even going through this process. What do you think of these objectives (which could easily be questions themselves)?

  • Certainly, if you don't enter there will be no recognition...and (if it s a legitimate exhibit) someone else will receive recognition
  • The experience of entering/submitting work will make that process easier to do in the future
  • Being accepted for an exhibit, even if you are not a top award winner, may boost your standing within the arts community
  • Submitting work forces you to be more critical/reflective of your own work compared to the work of others
  • Exhibiting in a juried exhibit is one means of improving your marketability to galleries

What drives you to submit your work?  Are we nutz for doing this? What do you hope to achieve by going through this?

 

 

 

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I very rarely submit my work. Saves dollars.

 

Last summer, I strolled through Old Town Alexandria at their street festival -- who can resist over 200 artists and craftsmen. The event was organized by one of the event organizers who send out the calls for submissions. So, the Old Town Alexandria Craft Fair had 3 three local artists (yep, I walked around the show and counted out of curiosity). . . all the rest were from out of state, primarily Florida (which is where the event organizer is from). And, they seem to travel a circuit as they were all talking about the next stop, etc.

 

There are legit opportunities; you just really need to look carefully and be extremely selective. And, if it is a juried show, take some time and look over who the juror(s) and their work.

 

For me, the best recognition is when someone cares enough to buy a piece of my pottery; the "nice work" and "oh, you are so talented" comments from drop ins don't really mean that much.

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I tried it once and decided it was a waste of money, I looked around at the exhibit and noticed the most of the work chosen was from out of state artist.  I wondered if I had submitted my same slides from my sisters address in Sacramento if I would have gotten in.   Denice

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This is a really good question that I have been pondering for a number of years now. At the end of the day I think it comes down to what your goals are. I make everyday type pots, I have a hard time keeping up with the amount of stock I need to produce and don’t have a problem selling pretty much everything that I make, (touch wood). In order to go through the hoops of researching, producing and submitting work would take a lot of time away from my bread and butter work that I just don't have. Flip side of that would be that if my ceramic standing was pumped up a few notches by being recognized in select exhibitions then I would probably be able to charge more and work less. Guess I’m still on the fence but its pretty comfortable here. Good topic!

 

edit: okay, I just clicked on your image, is his name jian ghomeshi by any chance? (maybe that's too Canadian a joke?)

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This is another one of those "it depends on what you want to do next" kind of questions.

Do you want to be known or do you focus on income?

Exposure does not equal $$$. It's nice, but doesn't pay the bills. :unsure:

 

If you want to be known, want to make the cover of magazines, want to be asked to present at NCECA, want Galleries to know your work, then you have to try to get into Regional and National shows. Even better, get to know the people and institutions who curate these shows. This is what happens at conventions like NCECA ... connections are made and maintained ... people get to know you and your work.

 

If you are less inclined to wanting fame, but would still like to put some of these shows on your CV ... then choose carefully. Look at the topic, look at the jurors.

Know that the money you send in is gone ... kind of like buying a lottery ticket but with much better odds.

 

I go through fits and starts on this ... some years I submit often, get rejected, then get annoyed that I wasted my money and time so I don't submit again for a while then go back to submitting ... this year I am tempted to submit work again ... crazy, crazy cycle that I ride! :lol:

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Chris has it right -what do you want in the long run

For me fame and etc is not what I ever wanted. I liked to concentrate on quality pottery sold reasonable  fares and get paid well. 

The days where I want to be known more are long gone if they ever where.More folks know me that I can recall knowing them.

I like to leave a show with large bag of $$  leaving behind happy customers or get a large check from a gallery knowing folks will use my pots well and for a long time.

Submitting apps do not help this for me at this time.Its funny you asked this now as I briefly considered submitting a few pots for the potters council show and blew it off as I could not come up with a good reason to do it.

I have zero issues with rejection and can afford to submit -the real question is why would I at this point in my career.

The time factor also plays a part in this with no real goal in terms of outcome.I do not need to feel I got into said show and I at this point am more known that I care about.

It not about me anymore its about giving some back-thats why I'm here answering questions so other do not have to fall into those pitfalls that I once have.

If you want to read a few good books on just such a show experience pick up a copy of Tom Coleman's Mud pie dilemma .The original book or the newer one which I think has the old story with an update.Toms a great guy and this story still rings true.

Mark

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I think one can learn a lot in submitting pieces in contests. One can learn things about oneself: "why am I participating? what do I want - recognition or fame? Is what I'am doing art or craft"? (yes, I know....).

I myself am participating in 2-3 contests a year, mostly in Europe. But what I learned a few months ago from a juror is that you have zero chance to be not even contemplated if you don't have a "language". In my eyes having a language means doing the same idea over and over and over.

I have too much fantasy and I want experiment with too many techniques to have a language. So in future I will save the money for those contests. In addition, what I noticed here in Europe is that the country that's organizing the contest has the most winners and finalists.....  And: if you know the jurors, that helps too (a friend is helping another friend along). Since I don't know jurors, and if, don't want to win only because I know x or z, I think hard in future before applying. I think it's very sad that what's important regarding contests is to know the right people, or having won one or the other really crucial contest like Taiwan or Mino (again with a little help from friends). If I would be a juror, important for me would be the piece itself, the idea behind it, the technique, the work and time invested etc. and NOT the right connections in life.

 

Evelyne

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Been a potter for 12 years making domestic ware for sale in accordance with what the customer ''wants'' and then ''my own'' work for me which is just what I liked and which piled up around the studio.

 

2 years ago I saw an exhibition call out with 2 hours left to apply that had a category specifically for Paperclay and... beyond my reason today, I thought  ''I want be a real artist' and jumped in, I just wanted the experience.

 

Turned up for the Opening event with no idea of anything but having a look at all the work and my son had to push me forward when my name was called as the winner of that category.....I didn't hear it and for a moment I didn't understand what my son wanted!!  Gob-smacked I approached well known Australian potter Greg Daly to accept my award.....frightfully aware of the industry's eyes upon me! Went home laughing and crying.

 

 Have only applied 3 times more and won one more....competition like that is not my goal but it did change my thinking....I did start to think of my ínternally driven'' work  as ''art'' and my éxternally driven work as ''ártisan''..................it's ok, story is about my experience and I know we all think differently about the art/craft debate.....

 

The experience changed my thinking about the work I love doing as having the same value, or more to me, than that which I make for commercial sale, so I now have 2 lines - the work I sell at art/craft shows for income and the work I exhibit in art galleries for income and prestige.

 

So my thoughts on the question is that it's worth trying a couple of times, even if it is nuts, just to find out what it means to you to have done it.  

 

(Whole leather and chains thing is optional in mixed media ceramics too I guess!)

 

Irene

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Around here, the judge spends the night in the home of the best friend or spouse of the winners, who also hangs the shows, so I don't think the awards mean much.

I am more gratified when someone purchases a special piece as a wedding gift, or for some memorable person in their lives.  That lifts my potter's spirits more that a bought and paid for award.

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Around here, the judge spends the night in the home of the best friend or spouse of the winners, who also hangs the shows, so I don't think the awards mean much.

I am more gratified when someone purchases a special piece as a wedding gift, or for some memorable person in their lives.  That lifts my potter's spirits more that a bought and paid for award.

What is super sad about this is that the winner probably enjoys the 'victory'. Kind of like cheating at solitaire!

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Guest JBaymore

Around here, the judge spends the night in the home of the best friend or spouse of the winners, who also hangs the shows, so I don't think the awards mean much.

 

Make sure not to paint the whole universe with the same broad brush.

 

best,

 

.....................john

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so to go further into this- where does one find places to submit? what are the best ones to go for? What is a reasonable entry fee vs an unreasonable scammy one?

 

I hope to submit work someday. In my past line of work I enjoyed public speaking a lot, I was on stage training salespeople a few times per year.  I miss that part but know that I need to develop skill first. As A  kid I always said that my life goal was to have a painting next to salvador dali's an an art museum.  Obviously my goal and medium has changed.  I would love to be known someday for bringing back old forgotten techniques or forms. :) But I need to get good at it first!! haha 

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Guest JBaymore

Ceramics Monthly (print and digital) has listings of exhibition calls. Also right here in the CAD Events section.

 

And sign up for a submission account at JuriedArtServices.com which is one of the places that a lot of shows use to screen digital submissions. And another submission site to sign up for is callforentry.org . Both of those have listings... and also send out calls.

 

best,

 

......................john

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A positive note on what can happen when you submit a piece: you can win!

 

It just happened to me. I submitted three pieces to the Potters Council Juried Show 2015 and the juror chose one of my pieces. (Happy dance!!).

 

So it's always 50:50 whether you win or not. I think best is to really first reflect where and why you want to submit an entry, and then: just do it!

 

Evelyne

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