A Juror’s Passionate Opinion
By Robert Burridge
Published in The Business of Selling Your Art available from http://www.robertburridge.com/Products/hot_martketing.html
- Used under Fair Use Policy of the Copyright Law -
Serious artists are full of opinions and personal viewpoints. It’s that simple. The opinions however, are developed over time and based on their art education, art exposure, and their “time in the trenches” making their own art. So when I was invited to jury this show for the Paso Robles Art Association, I felt honoured that my opinions and experiences had merit. I also realized that my opinions are going to affect many hard working artists. Some would get accepted and some would not. I too am a full time artist and my daily work and committed career also depends on other’s opinions. It comes with the business of being an artist. I respect all artists who have made the commitment to be a dedicated artist. I feel a responsibility to them and take my privileged position as a juror very seriously.
So, as an artist and a juror, I respond to other artists work instinctively. I tend not to have a preconceived vision of what I’m looking for, but rather to keep an open mind, as if I were an explorer anticipating the unknown. My options are to make comparisons based on the paintings that are in front of me, all the while looking for newness and surprises, and what I call, “the wow! factor”. These pieces of art are usually full of originality and passion. I search for a high craftsmanship and maturity. I react to artists who project confidence in their work, conviction to their own art messages and their artistic energy. It jumps out and grabs me.
One of the perks I get is knowing the top finalists will win cash or additional art materials. Plus, the notoriety is always helpful … And besides, it looks good their resume! It’s very heartening for me to know that I had a say in helping along the career of another fellow artist.
After concluding jury in this exhibition, I was surprised that I had selected both cutting-edge pieces along with traditionally executed pieces. For me, the consistent through line was each artist’s personal commitment and involvement in developing their own art. Their art simply said “Look at me!” The ones that are new and fresh always get my attention. The subject matter may be the same old thing, but if the artist brings individual newness to the art, I notice and remember it.
I’ve outlined a checklist of ideal qualities for choosing a winner and a list of my reasons why not. This “list” is also my list of check points in critiquing my own artwork. Did it:
Stop and surprise me
Hold my attention
Created with authority
Well developed idea
And finally, have the wow factor?
The negative list, as you might expect, is the opposite:
Does not hold my attention
Tried too hard
Because this competition was only one opinion, I encourage every artist to enter as many shows and competitions as they possibly can.
If an artist feels that their art is not receiving the attention they feel it deserves, I recommend visiting more galleries, more museums and more art fairs. For myself, I know that I expect to make many more paintings so I can continually teach myself to be a better painter. Many of my paintings are sent to galleries; and humbly I’ve learned over my 15 year painting career “many are called but few are chosen”. Rejection is only a temporary set back. Giving up makes it permanent.
In closing, when jury in an exhibit, I look for artists who are not showing me regurgitation, more of the same old stuff, or a repeated generation of someone else’s art. I search for artists who project their art education, the developed skills and who convey passion in their artwork. It was Beethoven who screamed to one of his pupils, “It’s not the technique that matters. It’s the passion!” I would like to also include with that: quality of executive on, quality of originality and the artists’ ability to see beyond the ordinary.
In the end, the true beauty of art lies in the creative process and in the artists’s heart. But hey, it’s only passionate opinion.