To Show or Not to Show? Today I want to share my Top 10 Reasons why I think participating in art shows is a good idea for artists of all stripes. But first I want to make sure you get this important news…
I don’t want you to miss out, so this is an official announcement of my upcoming art show! The show will be held at my studio with the opening reception taking place on Saturday, January 26, 2018! (Be sure to stay connected with me because I host many art shows throughout the year!)
This is all coming about because I’m having another birthday. I’m turning 59 this month. It’s the end of an era for me, and though I could mourn the fact that this is the last time I’ll be turning 50 something, I’ve decided I’d rather celebrate!
I’m encouraging fellow artists and students to help join me for this special show. With art, costumes, music, refreshments and a charitable focus, it’s gonna be a fun event. The party begins anytime I put on a costume, so I figured that making it a costume party would only add to the fun. I hope you can be part of this birthday bash, but if not, I hope you’ll be there with us in spirit~
All entry fees and 50% of my art sales will be donated to New Directions, a very worthwhile charity giving fresh starts to homeless individuals and families in our area. It’s going to feel so good to let our artwork do some good for those in need!
To show or not to show can be a real question for both new and experienced artists.
Have you hesitated to attend or participate in art shows? Entering art shows is something I recommend.
You might ask, “Why bother?” I have some thoughts on that subject to share with you today.
Here are my top 10 reasons for taking part in art shows:
1. Art shows are the perfect place to be thrown together with other artists, jurors, and art appreciators. Artists and art lovers are my people! These are folks who care about what I care about. When we get together, I get encouragement and fun conversation about shared passions. We need one another. We feed off one another. Shows are the perfect place to gather and make those connections. It’s heathy!
2. I want to be inspired! I’m constantly on the lookout for inspiration! Seeing other artist’s work is always a means for doing that. When I go to shows and museums I get ideas. I see new ways of doing things. How do they apply paint? How do they deal with color and value? How do they present or frame their work? Artists gain inspiration from one another. It’s just a fact and it’s a good thing.
3. I want to get a sense of how I’m doing. When I look at my work alongside the work of others, I can be my own judge. I can see what others are doing that I like, and determine whether their methods might improve my own work. Are there changes I could make that might help my own work improve? Are there techniques I could borrow that might add a little something to what I’m doing? That sort of comparison is much easier when my work is on display in the same room as other artists.
4. I’m looking for feedback from others. Art Shows can provide feedback. Sometimes this can come in the form of acceptance by a juror. Some shows are judged by a juror, who selects those who will be able to participate from a pool of entries. Juried shows can offer immediate feedback by simply gaining or not gaining acceptance into the show. Acceptance by a juror signals that you’re doing something right…you’ve made the cut. It’s a pat on the back and deserves to be celebrated.
If you don’t make the cut, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re a failure or that your work isn’t any good. It just means that the juror didn’t see your work as a good fit in the show, or didn’t connect with what you created. That feedback isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It can be constructive. If you’re consistently rejected, it may mean that you might benefit from some mentoring. It could also simply mean that you need to try again.
Take heart…I once had a painting rejected from a juried show that went on to win awards in other shows. Remember…it’s only a matter of opinion. Even the impressionists were repeatedly rejected by contemporary jurists in their day. A rejection simply means “not this time”. Don’t let it prevent you from trying again. 😊
5. Sometimes a show can give you valuable critique. It can be a bit tricky at times to hear critique and not feel offended. Our artwork is very personal, and most of us are doing our best on any given day. To have someone say that your best isn’t good enough or could use improvement can feel like a personal attack. However, it’s been my experience that an audience of artists is probably the kindest audience you’ll be able to find for creative expression. Be open to hearing what others might have to say about your work. Embrace the idea that someone may have something to offer you. It might be hard to hear. but being open to what others have to suggest can be one means to self-improvement. Artists are known to be averse to conformity, but there are some rules and norms that can be helpful to your success as an artist. Be willing to hear what others have to say, even if you choose to reject their suggestions. At least that way, you will make your choices after reviewing a wider range of options.
6. It’s good to come out of the closet if you’re an artist. It’s not healthy in there people! Overcoming the Fear Factor of showing your work is an important step in your journey as an artist. You might be shy. You might wonder if you’re any good. You might be afraid of the potential for critique. You might not have told people that you’re aspiring to become an artist because you didn’t want to seem too proud. All these reasons can be a factor in why people shut themselves off and don’t take the risk of sharing their work. To stay in this frame of mind is to shut yourself down. You’re denying yourself one of the great joys of living a creative life. It’s wonderful to have your art be a vehicle to connect with others! Don’t let your fear stunt your creative growth.
I can speak to this from experience. I was someone who didn’t show my work for quite some time. I think my perfectionism got in the way. I had to overcome these same fears I described earlier in order to get to the good stuff that comes from sharing my work. If you’re a closeted artist, it’s time to come out!
Entering a show might be a great first step toward a more public life as an artist. I can promise you that there is something very thrilling about seeing your work on the wall amidst the work of other artists. It’s a rite of passage that symbolizes a coming of age. Kind of like a debutante ball…showing your work is a way to announce that you are ready to engage in the art scene on a more mature level.
For someone who is hesitant, I would say that it takes practice. Much like public speaking and other performance arts, it really does get easier the more you do it. If you’re feeling shy, find a “safe” show to enter and do it, simply for the practice. Once you cross that bridge, I predict the second and third time you enter a show it will get easier and easier.
7. Shows can provide inspiration and give you something to paint for. If you have trouble finishing paintings or finding inspiration, a show can sometimes give you a kick in the pants and a deadline to shoot for. This can help your productivity!
8. Shows can lead to other opportunities. Whether or not someone buys your work or gives an award to your work, opportunities for networking and collaborations can come from participation in shows and being part of the greater art community.
9. Participation in a show can lead to a sale! A sale has a special kind of significance. It’s more than money. When someone loves what you’ve created enough to pull out their wallet, that’s a rare and special moment! Savor these connections and foster them. Your collectors are the wind beneath your wings as an artist!
10. Awards and Prizes are sometimes possible. This kind of recognition can be an exciting and affirming reward for putting yourself out there. Who doesn’t enjoy receiving an award? We all need a pat on the back once in a while, and as artists we seem to need them even more frequently than most.
Hoping for awards is fine, but keep this in mind: Being recognized with a ribbon in a show may or may not mean that the painting is great. Everything is a matter of opinion.
The one thing that an award always tells you is: Your work connected with someone other than yourself.
This is a huge point for me!
There’s magic when someone else has an emotional response to something you’ve created!
Making these kinds of heART connections is always possible at a show. Connections where ART is at the center of things are the source of so much creative juice!!
In the end, whether it’s my show or one taking place in your community, I think any art show is a great opportunity to get your work out there!
Have you had an experience with showing your work or overcoming your fear of showing your work? I’d love to hear from you and continue the discussion…