One of the responsibilities I take on as an artist is competing.
Why do artist compete in art competitions? What, you mean besides the eternal glory! Many artists compete to win the prize, the glory, and recognition by an official art community. To get discovered. To be published. To slowly turn into a career artist. To make their artist CV more professional. To feed their personal needs for affirmation as an artist. To be a part of the art community. To experience the heights of glory and the lows of despair. I compete for most of these reasons as well. I have been a competing artist for 15 years.
What is the last competition you won? I was chosen for publication and exhibition in the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR) Equinox April 2013 for “Large Canvas Figure Study.” However, I did not win Best in Show.
How does it feel to win? Winning is like a group hug! At first, it is great. I feel proud of myself, that I am accepted as an artist in that particular community. I feel like my art is really good, of course it won! This feeling dwindles with time. Other thoughts start to creep in, like, “the competition must have not been too great, that’s why I won” or “ya, I won, but it was only this small competition” and so on. By the end, I just put it on my CV and until I win the next competition, it was my little victory.
What is the last competition you lost? I participated in the Arkansas Arts Center “Face Off: A Portraiture Competition” 2014. I didn’t even make it past the first round. However, I did make it in the Sunday newspaper Arkansas Democrat Gazette!
How does it feel to lose? I would love to say that I am a gracious loser and that I say things like , “There were so many talented artists competing, so I’m just thankful I got to be a part of this whole thing.” Instead of this ideal response, I sulk and leave and cry about how I’m a loser.
What was the last competition you entered? My most recent competition experience was the Individual Fellowship with the Arkansas Arts Council. I initially knew I would enter this competition because the prize is eternal glory in Arkansas and $4,000. I thought I would work on a series of gouache paintings to meet the requirements of “works on paper.”
Then I started thinking about how I didn’t win this competition the previous year. I had competed with my thesis work, and if my thesis work didn’t win, why would I expect some little gouache paintings to win.
I got really discouraged and psyched myself out – not finishing any of the paintings I wanted to create – with this competition in mind. I just kept procrastinating and working on other things first. Eventually, the deadline was approaching the week of, and I just took the whole thing off of my to-do list. I decided I didn’t want to be stressed out and I didn’t want to deal with any more failures, etc. This was my attitude until the deadline day.
On the deadline day, I was feeling great – like God-inspired hope and joy. I thought, I can do this!
The thing is, I am an artist, so I have hundreds of pieces to pick from as well as already photographed and documented work on my hand dandy flash drive. All I had to do was put it together in a package for this competition.
So, I made a quick to-do list of everything I would need to do to enter this competition by lunch, and then I walked it over on my lunch break.
It felt really good to enter the Individual Fellowship competition rather than accepting defeat!