Dear Art Students,
First, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for participating in the VASE competition this last weekend. Making that kind of commitment to your work is really admirable! It was a cold, rainy day and I know that alarm came really early! But we went and had a great experience!
It's one thing to talk about your art in our classroom, but quite another to do with someone you've never met! I know it can make you feel nervous - I was nervous for all of you! I believe we did everything to get ready for the experience - matte and pack all of your work, get all of those darn papers filled out and turned in, take pictures of the art and practice the interview in class! I hope you felt we did all that we could to prepare you for the event (especially the first timers!).
I hope we can have conversations looking back on the experience. Let's look at the evaluation forms and see what comments were made about your pieces. Some of the evaluations I agree with, some I do not. This is really very typical for competitive art events. I've been putting my work in art competitions for many, many years, and I still can be surprised (happy or frustrated!) by a judge's opinion! And, I have been a judge in many different kinds of competitions, so I've also looked at the work from their perspective. Try to think back on times in our class when we didn't agree on art! Often when I've shown the Artist of the Day videos, some people will like it and some won't. And so it goes with judges' opinions. In the end, it's helpful if you can be open to what they are saying, but you have to take it with a grain of salt.
Sometimes in these competitive events we lose sight of what's really important about participating. Let me tell you what I think the great advantages of showing your work are:
- It propels you to do work and to get it ready for competition. There is an energy about that and it can be very positive and fulfilling. (Sometimes it can be very frustrating and exhausting to meet those deadlines too!)
- I believe you strive to do your very best work when you enter competitions. I've seen so much growth in all of you, and I am super proud of the hard work you have put in making your art.
- You see other artists' in the process, and how fun is that! So many ways to express yourself - I never tire of seeing what other people think of doing.
- And from all of that, you grow as an artist. The more you do, the more seasoned you become. I've been entering contests for over 30 years, so you would think I'd be used to them! But I feel just like you - excited, anxious, nervous, joyful and frustrated.
- The judges' opinions are just that - opinions, not "truth". We can be open to hearing what they have to say, but in the end you have to check in with your own truth about the work.