On Wednesday, October 22nd, I received the AOE Arts Council’s “People’s Choice” Award for my sculpture “The Selfie”. What was particularly rewarding about this honour is that the public got to vote on their favourite piece. There was no online voting, the only way to vote was in person, at the exhibit. This award is a huge thrill for me and I’m very proud of the attention this particular piece has received. It has really hit a chord with the struggles of our aging population to stay current with today’s technology.
Entering art competitions is often met with mixed emotions from artists. It requires some work in the application process and staying organized and up-to-date with your resume, but there is also the fear factor in putting yourself out there to be criticized or be judged. I know this from first hand experience. I struggled with taking that next step, moving into the fine art world and competing. My goal has always been to become a professional full-time artist and I believe competition is helping to realize this goal. The benefits of competition far outweigh any negative aspects, as a matter of fact, in hindsight, the negative experiences were probably the most educational.
Competitions can motivate artists to work harder , competing makes you think about goals and which direction to take next. Locally it helps the artist’s work become better known in the community, but winning isn’t everything. Simply getting accepted into a juried local, national or international show helps the artist to become more widely known, acquire patrons, and get into galleries. Competitions don’t define the artist but they demand that we look for ways to grow. They are a chance to meet other artists, make friends, network and learn from other artist’s experiences. Naturally, there are highs and lows. With the lows we re-evaluate, try again or if necessary, go in a different direction. As artists, we study, learn, work and change in our attempts to reach our goal. When we stay the same, we don’t grow.