The spread of COVID-19 has forced the art market to increase their presence on the virtual space. The art world now relies on their online galleries to showcase artist’s work. For the artist, this means that in-person shows have halted but virtual opportunities have been created.
Why is this important?
The world’s behavior has changed during the pandemic. Zoom meetings, art openings, and artist’s talks have become commonplace. By actively engaging in these events you can reap short-term benefits and create a foundation for future opportunities. Additionally, I believe that these virtual events will continue to exist in the post-pandemic art market.
How you can take advantage of online opportunities?
Seek out online exhibitions – You’re no longer limited by geography since you don’t need to deliver artwork to a physical location. This gives you the chance to enter exhibitions anywhere.
Participate during online openings – You must be present to support your art show. The gallery/arts organization hosting this event will be aware of your presence or absence. Additionally, if anyone is interested in your work, you’ll be available for questions.
Actively participate as a spectator in Artist Talks – This is a good way to support your fellow artists. Be an active participant by asking questions.
Be a presenter at an Artist Talk – If given the chance, take the opportunity to talk about your work. This is the single best way to let people know about you, your art, and your artistic process. This also gives a potential collector the opportunity to learn about your work.
Be active on Social Media – There’s no need to overdo it. Just choose either Instagram or Facebook and post regularly.
Update your website – Ultimately, you want to drive people to your website to see your body of work and to learn more about you as an artist. Update your website so it contains current work and doesn’t look dated. Remember, that your website is a representation of you in the virtual world.
How this strategy helps your art career
It keeps you visible to galleries and other artists during this time when interacting physically isn’t an option
Virtual participation allows you to network with other artists, curators and collectors
When the pandemic is finally over, you can leverage the connections you’ve made for potential exhibitions
Actively participating in Artist Talks gives you credibility by making others aware of your art knowledge. This can lead to organizations seeking you out for your art knowledge.
Have you done any of the above? How much have you participated in virtual events? Please let me know in the comments.
Juried shows are a source of frustration among artists. You enter a competition only to be rejected without ever knowing the reason why you weren’t accepted. The worst part is you’re out the non-refundable entry fee. The first juried art show I entered was held at a well-funded organization with a very nice exhibition space. It cost me $45 to join the organization and another $40 to enter the show. This seemed like a high price but I figured it would be worth it to see my paintings in that gallery space. My work was NOT accepted and I was out a total of $85. I quickly realized that this approach was financially prohibitive.
Based on this experience, I changed my strategy and began entering only juried shows that are FREE. I’m willing to make an exception and pay a membership fee to join an arts organization that offers benefits aside from the juried show. For example, I joined an arts group that has painting and social events where I can network with other artists. The juried show is an additional benefit.
Why should I enter a juried show
A juried show can have many benefits (see “How entering juried shows helps your art career” below) but the main reason to enter is the opportunity to exhibit your work.
How do I find juried shows to enter
You can try these two websites. They both list national exhibitions but can be filtered to include territories that are near you.
These websites are helpful but I’ve rarely found free juried shows that were appropriate to my work. I’ve had more success by researching local art groups that host juried shows.
When you find an exhibition that works for you be aware that there’s usually a theme and the hosting organization requires submitting the following:
Jpgs of your artwork
An artist bio
An artist statement that explains how your work fits the theme of the show
Occasionally, some will ask for a CV or artist resume
The above is important and time-consuming. Your images should have a professional look and follow the file naming conventions stated in the exhibition prospectus. Your bio should be well thought out and follow the industry standard. Additionally, your artist statement should be well-written and concise. If your CV looks anemic, I suggest skipping that exhibit until you gain more exhibition experience.
Do your research! Look online for previous years juried shows. Evaluate the artwork that was accepted. Does your work fit in with the others that were accepted? If you’re an abstract painter and previously accepted works were all photorealistic, this may not be the venue for you. But if it’s free, take a chance!
How entering juried shows helps your art career
It gives you the opportunity to exhibit your work
You gain exposure for you and your work
You can add the exhibition to your artist’s resume
It giives you the opportunity to compare your work to other artists’ work
A collector may buy your art
It’s an opportunity to network with artists, curators and collectors
Only enter juried shows that are FREE
Juried shows give you the opportunity to exhibit your work
You will need good pictures of your work, an artist bio and statement and possibly an CV/artist’s resume to enter
These exhibitions have additional benefits that can help your art career.
Finally, learn to take rejection because it will happen
What are your experiences with juried shows? Please share them in the comments.
One of my paintings is currently on view in an online exhibit at Hoboken Arts. The group show titled “Transformative, Picturing Life after the Pandemic” showcases 40 artists and their interpretation of the theme. Each detail of the artwork includes the artist’s description of the piece and its relationship to the theme. Kudos to Hoboken Arts for using this format as the viewer is able to understand the thought process of the artist and what they’re experiencing during this time. Click here for a detailed view of my painting and description. Click here to view the entire exhibit.
My oil painting titled “Forever” was painted in the early stages of the pandemic. Coincidentally, I had started a series of paintings with the theme of “Isolation” and “Self-Isolation”. This painting deals with isolation in a social setting. I wanted to convey detachment and separation; the figures are together but not interacting with one another. The bar creates a physical separation between two worlds: the world of the patrons and the world of the bar area (or presumably, bartender). The patrons being unaware of what goes on behind the bar.
My painting process
I wanted to create an apathetic mood by using cold blues. I used varying hues and tones of blues and emphasized loose brushwork. The only yellows exist in the figures helping them to stand out against the cool blues of the rest of the scene. To draw the viewer’s attention even further, I added dabs of oranges only on the faces and hands helping to make the figures more relatable.
The show is on view through May 31, 2020
What do you think about the exhibition? Please share your thoughts.