Anatomy of an Awesome Art Exhibit Entry

There’s been much debate on the EBSQ Member Forums of late about the quality (or lack thereof) of many recent show entries. And the quality issue has next to nothing to do with the art itself.

Huh?

Let me explain:

1.) Does the piece meet the prospectus?

You’d be surprised how many members enter shows willy nilly. (Or maybe you wouldn’t be if you’re a regular EBSQ exhibit visitor.) Sometimes it’s a rookie mistake. Sometimes, people enter their work in the wrong show accidentally. Maybe they misread something in the prospectus, or latch onto the title of the show without bothering to read what it’s actually about. But other times, people enter something just because they can. The number one thing you need to ask yourself is:

Does your work logically belong in Show X?


If you’ve entered a piece of a happy cat in winter and the theme of the show is self-portraits, then no. Really, no. Just don’t do it. Unsure? Read the prospectus. Still unsure? Ask. Please.

Ok. ┬áSo you’ve successfully mastered the number one rule of successful show entries. If you only do one step, this is the most important take away. But if you want to take yourself from appropriate to awesome, read on…

2) Did you include a statement that explains why you feel THIS particular piece belongs in THIS particular show?

Maybe you think your entry’s appropriateness is obvious. But we don’t live in your brain. Give us a little something about your piece as it pertains to the prospectus. This is all the more important if your piece is abstract or if your piece makes an unusual interpretation of the show guidelines. Pieces with relevant text are greatly preferred by members weighing in on this issue in the EBSQ Forums. I cannot overemphasize how important it is to include a quality artist statement. And the inclusion of text also makes your work easier to find both on our site and in search engines, so not including a piece-specific statement can actually be detrimental to your success on EBSQ. It’s food for thought!

3) This goes hand-in-hand with #2–Is your statement just a sales pitch?

We understand you want to sell your work. We agree that regular show participation is one of THE best ways to get your work seen on EBSQ, improving your chances of selling your work. But we’ve found that statements that are JUST a sales pitch are a big turn off. We recommend including a piece-specific statement, even if it’s short, before going into your pitch. This keeps regular show voters happy, and we’ve found this actually improves your odds of your work selling to that special someone who fell in love with your work in one of our shows. (Psst! This is also good advice for ALL of the work in your portfolio)

4) Is you piece presented in a professional manner?

Here’s where the more objective quality attributes come into play. Is your piece properly cropped? Is there glare? Is it in focus? It doesn’t matter if it’s the most brilliant portrait of Caesar ever painted and epitomizes everything about the prospectus, plus has a pitch-perfect artist statement included. If it’s not a quality jpeg, you’ve just shot yourself in the foot.

And finally:

5) Is your piece any good?

Well…the show voters will certainly weigh in, but in the end, only you can answer that one!

So–did we miss anything? What do YOU think makes an exhibit entry stand out from the crowd in a good (rather than a cringe-worthy) way?

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