Monday, 3 September 2012

Competitions and opens

I get regular updates from various organisations telling me about various artist opportunities.  These range from open exhibitions, residencies, competitions, publications to all sorts of interesting ideas. Some of these are from direct emails, others from a couple of useful websites: Transartists and the weirdly named (but incredibly useful) I send you this. Some of these are interesting and I enter: these include, for example, things I have mentioned earlier in this blog, such as the electric open which are currently showing some of my iPad works in Congleton, the art brownie project, or the Ganges 1900 festival. All these have something in common - they look like fun, and don't cost anything, or don't cost very much. I also received emails about various competitions or opens (often from idiots who don't know how to use their "bcc" box on their email programme) .Too many of these "opportunities" however seem to be just a way of getting money out of artists. For example I received an email today inviting me to submit my work to an open exhibition/competition. Works chosen get exhibited in a gallery in Florida, and the "winning" painting gets the artist a prize of 1,000€. The catch is the entry cost: 40€. Oh yes, and any works sold by the gallery attract a 30% commission. This isn't a huge amount, but if you enter a lot of competitions like this it can soon add up. I calculate that it would be quite easy to build up entry fees of well over 1,000€ a year. And given you're chances of winning a prize are pretty slim, that's money you are unlikely to see again - even if you're work is selected and exhibited. This particular exhibition/competition is being organised by a freelance curator in partnership with a gallery. I guess the fees go to him - he makes a few grand, and the gallery gets the commission. I presume in this case the prize money comes from the entries. You might argue that in this case, everyone wins. But the reality is that I would guess he's expecting 100+ entries, raising 4,000€ - a profit for him of some 3,000€. One artist gets 1,000€ and some others get their work shown in a small gallery in Florida. It's all pretty harmless I guess - but it does feel like the whole enterprise is being subsidised by artists - especially the losers - and to me this seems wrong. I don't mind competition/open organisers charging a small administration charge (£10-20 is common) which I guess helps to cover costs, but any more seems a short step from galleries charging artists to show their work.

Anyway, here's my picture I did in Ganges 1900: which was not only free, they also gave me lunch, an aperot and as much coffee as I wanted. Three cheers for Ganges!
Ganges 1900
Not my normal sort of thing. All in oils. I was supposed to go back on Sunday and do a second painting, but I wasn't very well, so that put paid to that unfortunately. However it's made me determined to paint this week, and I have started work today on stuff.

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