Art Competitions don’t define us, they demand we look for ways to grow.
The subject of art competitions has been raised several times at our studio so let me share our philosophy at Art Box Workshops on the topic.
By the time children start school, they will already have had exposure to competition. They will have been exposed to phrases like “Mine is better than yours” “This is not really good” “this is great”. In school, they will be further exposed to competition through “Spelling Bees”, math’s tests and in a sport. These situations provide opportunities for the children’s ability to be measured through assessment of answers or directly, as in a game, through winning. In an ideal world, these competitive opportunities allow children to learn how to deal with competition and also how to do their best, and to be proud of their personal best.
Visual arts cannot be measured as correct or incorrect, there is no “one size fits all” measurable formula. Response to art is subjective, with diverse opinions about what makes art good or bad. Even at Primary School level! This brings me to art competitions. These are staged in a wide variety of venues, including schools, local art galleries, libraries, church halls, clubs as well as major international galleries. Most venues host art exhibitions to create a community event and to celebrate community awareness of local talents. Also, they are an opportunity for the artists to sell their works, making some money for themselves and for the gallery. Often, but not always, prizes are awarded to “the best artwork”. Obviously, it is exhilarating for the recipient of the prize and the artist may start to become “known”.
It is not uncommon for artworks rejected by one “art prize” to go on to win a major award in another “art Prize.
What we at art Box Workshops love about “competitions” and “art prize events” is the pleasure and excitement of having work hung in the public arena, no matter how young or mature the artist may be. Having work shown can motivate an artist to really stretch themselves creatively. Conversely, we have also seen young artists (as well as mature artists) give up on their art because they are not the prize winners. Creating art is a very personal, organic experience, which with the tools of skills, such as those acquired at Art Box Workshop, can allow for a lifetime of pleasure.
The immense pressure of creating “something to fit an exhibition” can, in fact, suspend the artist’s creative development and indeed their pleasure in creating art. It is worth remembering that art competitions don’t define us, they demand we look for ways to grow, and give us, as artists, an opportunity to have our work seen by a wider audience. – Julia
Art Box workshops is a proud sponsor of the first Girl Guides “Girl Made” State Exhibition, opening this weekend at 12 pm Saturday 19th September at Art Est, Art Gallery- 69/67-71 Lords Rd, Leichhardt NSW 2040