Our school entered the winter park Art Festival exhibit for schools. There
was stiff competition. There is nothing like a competitive show to get my juices
flowing for what to do next year. We took a ribbon in photography. These
contests are good for kids going on to study a BFA because it is a resume
incentive. However, at our own school show at the end of the year, I do not give
individual ribbons for work.
Since I show my own work in professional juried shows for the past 20 years,
here are a few tips I have learned over the years that may help you.
High Value in work is very important. The high value pieces caught the
In a national professional show, they may have as many as 2 - 3 thousand
entries and 150 pieces to jury in. I figure that they may get around 400-500
florals. After a while they all will look the same to the judge. What can I do in
MINE that is different?
I always have to charge my creativity and do a lot more thumbnails to come up
with a different angle.
Check composition. A technically wonderful work is naught if the composition
Interest -The work has to have an element that keeps the judge looking at it
more that 30 seconds. An element of intrigue- content, a color not expected, a
different perspective or view, not novelty or "slick" but honest uniqueness.
Experienced judges are quick to pick up on manipulative techniques.
Mat the work simply. Use neutral mats. Judges think you are "helping" the
artwork if it has fancy mats. Exception: when artwork becomes part of the mat.
Accuracy- Have the students really LOOK at their portraits. I usually pick up
that the vertical axis of the nose off a little from the mouth. The
horizontal eye axis is important too. Zoom in. Turn the subject a different angle.