I just had the pleasure of being a judge at the Halifax Art Festival in Daytona Beach this month. This festival presents 37 artists with $31,200 in cash awards. We were asked to score in four categories: Originality, Execution, Presentation and Artistic Expression.
Both Leslie Madigan (the other judge) and myself took this very seriously and talked for over an hour on what the criteria meant and how to best score each artist.
We discussed at length the whole body of work vs. one excellent piece of art. The decision to look at the whole frankly made our decision making much easier because artistic expression that is conveyed throughout a body of work does elevate that artist to an award winning status.
My co-judge and I visited every booth separately, speaking to each artist and asking them about their work. We both made notes that we could refer back to when discussing our choices. It took 6 hours to go through all 170 artists. We met in a quiet, private area to discuss what we had seen and our thoughts on the overall show. There were some really amazing artists that had made big impressions on us both - that made some of the choices quite easy. In some categories there were some harder choices to make, so we discussed from our notes, what we had seen about the artisans' technique, presentation, and artistic expression - basically the WOW factor that sets artists apart.
Can you discuss your art in 30 seconds?
One key component that some artists had trouble with was the 30 second "Elevator Pitch". Ask yourself, are you able to give a brief description of why your art is special? You want to be able to talk about what best characterizes you and your work. Do you use an unusual technique, can you describe your decision making, where do your ideas originate from and how do you incorporate them into your work? Keep things succinct at this point, if the judge wants more info, questions will be asked. But unless requested keep it short, judges have a lot of territory to cover in a given amount of time. For more tips on the Elevator Pitch - CLICK HERE
Presentation is key
Take care in presentation of your work! First impressions are not only for the public.
Judges are influenced by great framing, clean lines, art that is hung straight and not too crowded. Leaving your art on the ground in a mess creates the impression that you are not proud of what you have worked so hard at.
Professional set-up - invest in clean lines and professional looking display
Framing should be part of the presentation - messy corners or a too many types of frames are distracting
Present the work that was submitted to the jury
For small work have enlarged posters/photographs of the art
Best work highlighted - Not too crowded
Presentation includes the price tag, have professional price tags on your work if you are displaying the price
Don't have additional items in your booth that detract from your work
Ensure your product is clean
No matter the weather - be there!
Is your art completely unique
Is your body of work a cohesive message?
Only present your best work