Why Enter Art Competitions?
I teach many beginners and several of them become experienced and create wonderful work, yet when I suggest entering exhibitions or competitions there is a reluctance. I think that entering competitions can provide opportunities and I will explain why it might be a good idea…
Motivation and Professionalism
Entering a competition usually means working to a deadline and sometimes forcing you to work on a subject or in a medium that you wouldn’t normally consider. Creating work for a competition is much like working on commission, you have to meet some of the requirements of a brief yet you have the freedom to interpret it in your own way. In this way competitions are a good training group for working as an artist to commission.
When you can do whatever you like and there are no deadlines or requirements to satisfy, we can get into a rut. Competitions give us a reason to try something different and work more professionally. The practice of measuring, framing work, writing about our work is all good training for working as a professional.
Competitions give you the benefit of exposure and free publicity, especially if you win! I got my first commission as an illustrator because I entered a greeting card design competition. I didn’t win but the greeting card company remembered my entry and it led to commissions later down the line.
The Right Fit
Some of my learners don’t think small village competitions are worth entering but I have to disagree. I think the most important thing is getting a competition that suits your work, do also consider that the bigger and more well known a competition the more competitive it will be. It can cost you an entry fee to enter some high-profile competitions, so do weigh up if it is worth it. Beware of competitions with high entry fees and ones that want to re-use your image without paying for the copyright.
Is there that much to lose? Share your thoughts below on competitions, can you suggest any good ones?