If I don't like art contests does that make me a spoiled sport, a chicken, a coward or plainly a wimp? Short answer no. Competition is just one part of the 'cultural iceberg'.
I've never been the competitive type, though in the very distant past I have entered contests, mainly for singing, not visual art. Generally these contests left me feeling really crappy and I know I'd never enter another. I'm not saying all competition is or needs to be a negative experience, but when it comes to creativity and art it just isn't healthy or good for an artist's confidence or self-esteem. Contests are win/loose scenarios. The artist looses and as Ann Rea states, the organizers win.
Today I found an email from Artists Who Thrive -Ann Rea, who talks about this very thing and succinctly expresses her ideas and thoughts about what happens when artists enter art contests and why they are a waste of time. Here is what she has to say.
" Entering art contests is a waste of damn time. The only ones who win are the organizers.
Too many artists are wasting their precious time, money, and energy by entering art contests for a blue ribbon or an unlikely cash prize award, when what they really want is just to sell their art.
Art contest organizers make money by banking on your insecurities and desperate need for validation. If you really believed in the art that you are trying to sell you wouldn’t participate in this nonsense.
I get it. We all want to be loved, seen, and heard but this is not the way.
If what you really want is to sell your art, then steer clear of art contests. Here’s why.
So you get blue ribbon. How does that help you sell your art? It doesn’t.
No one cares about your blue ribbon but you.
2.) Art contests use language and positioning to imply a false sense of prestige.
Art collectors are moved to buy your art, and the value you offer above and beyond it, or they’re not.
A list of “awards” isn’t going to change how collectors feel or get them to buy your art.
3.) Art contests harden the scarcity and permission based mindset which is biggest self-limiting obstacle to an artist’s success.
4.) Competing with other artists fuels toxic and petty jealousy.
If you’re going to compete, compete for your collector’s attention and discretionary budget.
I’ve never had a collector who was trying to decide between my art or another artist’s art.
They’re trying to decide if they’ll going to indulge in purchasing the luxury retail product that I’m offering or another non-art luxury retail product or experience.
5.) Who are these self-appointed art judges anyway?
Art critics are often frustrated creatives.
What gives them the authority to pass judgment on your art?
Art is in they eye of the beholder. There is lid for every jar. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. You get the picture?
Unless they’re actually going to buy your art, don’t give them an opportunity to judge it.
6.) Art contests imply that there is only one winner, one success. Look at how you’re defining success.
My definition of success is getting paid for inspiring other people with my art. It’s not beating other artists at game someone made up for their profit and our loss.
7.) You only have so much energy, money, and time left in this life. Instead of spending it on futile activities like art contests, invest it in building your own creative enterprise and learning how to create value above and beyond your art.
- Have you entered art contests?
- How much have you spent on entry fees?
- How much have you spent on supplies, photography, and or shipping?
- How much time have you spent? "