Learn what it takes to win the attention of art competition award jurors—from top jurors themselves.
1. “When I jury an art competition, I look for paintings that first attract my attention with outstanding design, great color chords, meaningful content or an unusual view of an ordinary subject. Then I take a closer look. I call it the ‘5-inch view.’ I want to see what I call ‘eye entertainment.’ ”
2. “I find that technical skill, creativity and composition go hand-in-hand when viewing paintings, and in the end it’s as much about emotion as any technical quality a work may possess. I can only say that it needs to be more than itself; it should make me want to look deeper, seek what the artist is trying to say, and spend time with it.”
3. “Often in the selection of awards, jurors must rank the top two or three paintings. I ask myself, which is the most breathtaking? Does one have the ‘wow’ factor? Do I greatly admire the technique? Is the abstract pattern note-worthy? Have I ever seen the concept before? Is it unique, fresh and unusual? Does it have an invented color chord? Although I think technical skill and creativity are almost equally important, the uniqueness and unusual presentation of the idea may weigh heavier for me.”
4. “What speaks to me is evidence of the artist’s unique vision, a strong imagination or a compelling story.”
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5. “Value catches my eye first. To my way of thinking, light, made to shine by shadow, is the element that makes the difference in a well-designed painting. Once the values are designed, the artist is free to use color and texture in nearly infinite ways. I find it difficult to separate technical skill and creativity, thinking of them as parts of the same cycle and playing back and forth with each other in a design.”
6. “I look for excellence in composition and technique, confident brushwork, a distinct approach to a subject and a display of the uniqueness of the medium. Evaluating a work of art on these premises inevitably elevates one over the other. Neither subject nor style is of any concern. Most important is the excellence with which the image is rendered.”
—Jan Fabian Wallake
7. “When two paintings grab my attention, the choice is made when one painting keeps demanding that I return to it and continue to enjoy its message or subject.”
—Mary Ann Beckwith
8. “When jurors select work for inclusion in an art competition exhibition, they look for technical proficiency, good design, good composition and a message. Choosing artwork worthy of an award is a much more difficult task: Jurors look for work that speaks to them and touches them on an emotional level. Award jurors will ultimately agree on a work deserving recognition when
a painting demonstrates that magical combination of technique and emotional content, mood or unique perspective. If an artist manages to successfully share his vision and engage an audience, that’s a winner!”
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