2020 is my year! Yep, I know that sounds crazy. With the year that we've had, how on earth can 2020 be anyone's year? I'm choosing though to see the rainbows, to make lemonade, to find something positive and constructive to help myself to grow as an artist.
At the start of 2020, I set out to have a year of entering art competitions and prizes. And when COVID struck Australia, I froze. I decided to step back, to focus on my art practice and building my client base until I came to realise that the world has not stopped turning. Yes, a percentage of the competitions are not going ahead. But you know what, a fair few of them are still open for applications and I'm rearing to go (again) because...
1. Enforced reflection
Art competitions are a powerful means for improving your personal art practice. They force you to sit down and reflect on your portfolio and where you are in your art journey. They cause you to review your works and notice what of your art you want to do more of. Some competitions require that you submit an artist's bio. This may sound scary, but there is plenty of information online about how to formulate one. Having to put one of these together is yet another bonus - making you consider who you are as an artist and what you want to say through your art... and having to commit but putting it down on paper and sharing it with a judge.
2. Increase in exposure
Whether you win or not, they increase your exposure and get your name out there. At the very least, the judges will see your name. If you are not accepted into the associated exhibition (if there is one), your name will be familiar when you enter that same competition in the following year. If you are accepted into the exhibition, that will allow you even more exposure - to art lovers, to gallery owners and to fellow artists. And... if you do win a prize, you are likely to have your work published - be it in a local newspaper, on a website or perhaps even in a mainstream newspaper.
Art competitions give you something to work towards and are a great way to put a stop to any sort of procrastination that might be going on. There is nothing like a deadline to keep you motivated and moving forward! If you feel like you are floating a little in your art practice, going around in circles or not progressing, entering a competition might be the solution for you.
4. Make your statement
If your art makes a statement - perhaps environmentally or politically - art competitions with associated exhibitions offer you a way to get your message out there. It can be very rewarding to publicly make your point and take a stand for what you believe in.
5. Personal Growth
The confidence, self-development and personal growth that comes with entering competitions is significant. To have the confidence to enter a competition in the first place may represent a shift in your mindset as an artist, increasing your self-respect and strengthening your commitment to your aspirations... and (woowoo warning) putting the message out to the universe that you want your artistic life to continue to flourish. This confidence may well flow onto other areas of your life. I have seen this most definitely in my own life - story for another day!
So, even with the delays I've had in committing to entering art prizes, 2020 is still going to be my year of comps. If COVID can't stop me, nothing will!
For a list of art competitions, start by having a look HERE.
I'd love to hear your thoughts on entering competitions and what benefits you have discovered. Comment below.