Art Competition Odds

Art Competition Odds: 2014 Creative Capital/Warhol Foundation Art Writers Grant Program

The 2014 Creative Capital/Warhol Foundation Art Writers Grant Program received 600 applications for twenty grants.

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Grantees comprise about 1:30, or 3.3% of applicants.

See all Art Competition Odds.

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Sights

get excited: cool things everywhere

Being an artist involves so many activities, I’ve fallen behind on seeing art. But there’s lots out there to be excited about!

 Amanda Curreri, Under the Socialist Sun with Interference, Monoprint with screenprint, 15 x 11 inches, 2013; Llewelynn Fletcher, Standing Sound Costume: Lion, 2010, basswood, mahogany, low frequency sound, bass-shaker speakers, 3.5'W X 3.5'L X 7'H. // Source: c3initiative.org.

Amanda Curreri, Under the Socialist Sun with Interference, Monoprint with screenprint, 15 x 11 inches, 2013; Llewelynn Fletcher, Standing Sound Costume: Lion, 2010, basswood, mahogany, low frequency sound, bass-shaker speakers, 3.5’W X 3.5’L X 7’H. // Source: c3initiative.org.

Cool artists getting a cool residency in Portland, OR

ERNEST Introductions (Amanda Curreri & Llewellyn Fletcher)
c3 initiative, Portland, OR
Dec 7, 2013 – Feb 15, 2014
Opening: Sat, Dec 7, 6-9pm
Launching ERNEST’s collaborative two-year public project and partnership with Portland’s c3 initiative.

Installation view of The Shadows Took Shape. // Source: StudioMuseum.org // Photo: Adam Reich

Installation view of The Shadows Took Shape. // Source: StudioMuseum.org // Photo: Adam Reich

Afrofuturist aesthetics @ the Studio Museum
Including a collaborative project by Nyeema Morgan
Plus a great portrait of the artists in the New Yorker Magazine

The Shadows Took Shape
November 14–March 9, 2014
Studio Museum
NYC

Artists of The Shadows Took Shape in the New Yorker Magazine. Photograph by Christaan Felber.

Artists of The Shadows Took Shape in the New Yorker Magazine. Photograph by Christaan Felber.

I don’t think female artists of color have enough visibility; this is a lovely move in a good direction.

Leonid Tishkov, Private Moon. // Source: ArtsCatalyst.org.

Leonid Tishkov, Private Moon. // Source: ArtsCatalyst.org.

A wonderfully speculative, lunar-themed exhibition in London

The preview images look so cool.

January 10-February 2, 2014
The Art Catalyst’s Republic of the Moon
Bargehouse, Oxo Tower Wharf, South Bank, London

Vacuum/plenum (the Cotard delusion, invisibility, and other gravities), 2009, mirror, two-way plexiglass mirror, aluminum, steel, casters, Dimensions variable, mirrored box is 4x4x7 ft. // Source: SeldonYuan.com

Vacuum/plenum (the Cotard delusion, invisibility, and other gravities), 2009, mirror, two-way plexiglass mirror, aluminum, steel, casters, Dimensions variable, mirrored box is 4x4x7 ft. // Source: SeldonYuan.com

Vacuum/plenum (the Cotard delusion, invisibility, and other gravities), by Seldon Yuan

I came across this NYC artist when I received a rejection letter and he was listed as one of the winners. But when I viewed his site, and this project in particular, the selection committee’s wisdom became apparent to me. The sting of rejection is a mitigated by intrigue of this work. I wish this project was my own. It’s brilliant.

Personal Goal Setting Advice for Artists

Love this Personal Goal Setting advice from  Creative Capital’s Internet for Artists Handbook. I came across this a while ago but keep recommending it to folks. Really useful!

(I just noticed it’s written by Blithe Riley, an artist involved in interesting, radical visual art programming at Interference Archive in Gowanus in Brooklyn. Coming up this week: neat programming around Asian American struggle.)

Your turn: These Calls for Entry

Signal Fire’s spring exhibition in the New Mexico wilderness
Spring applications due December 31

Interface Gallery’s call for participatory projects
Oakland, CA
Stipends available. Applications due January 1, 2014.

 

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Meta-Practice

Home Studio 360

In a recent post, I urged working artists to value ourselves and our practices independent of commercial validation.

It’s easier to say than do. Here’s a case in point:

Because I have a hang-up that I might be perceived as a less serious artist since I work from home, I’ve never posted pics of my current studio.

Until now. 

Studio panorama. Pretty nice to have light and fresh air. The windows face out to a covered porch, where I've done a little bit of woodworking.

Studio panorama. Pretty nice to have light and fresh air. The windows face out to a covered porch, where I’ve done a little bit of woodworking.

I'm sewing the VIA signal flag project these days. I put up some ribbons on the walls so I can pin things up without constantly making new holes in the walls. Leftover insulation foam from a packing project has been turned into another pinboard for swatches (at left).

I’m sewing the VIA signal flag project these days. I put up some ribbons on the walls so I can pin things up without constantly making new holes in the walls. Leftover insulation foam from a packing project has been turned into another pinboard for swatches (at left).

I'm guessing this map is from the 1970s. It's fun to think about all the places I've yet to visit in this huge, amazing country.

I’m guessing this map is from the 1970s. It’s fun to think about all the places I’ve yet to visit in this huge, amazing country.

As far as I'm concerned, books, artist's tape, and colorful pens are non-negotiable.

Pegboard’s irresistible promise of organization.

As far as I'm concerned, books, artist's tape, and colorful pens are non-negotiable.

As far as I’m concerned, books, artist’s tape, and colorful pens are non-negotiable.

Though I would rather have a studio outside the home, I have to admit—the convenience of a home studio is a big plus. Working from home, I’ll never have to eat a Trader Joe’s MRI or bodega junk food. I’ll never have to commute just to get the dimensions of a work of art or pick up a ruler. Other artists’ dusts, fumes, music and garbage are non-issues. Late at night, I don’t have to get creeped out in an empty building or desolate neighborhood. I get to use a full kitchen and clean bathroom! I never suffer the consequences of leaving materials or references at “home,” and bringing a fan or air conditioner, or scarf or jacket, takes all of 30 seconds.

According to the W.A.G.E. survey, 45.8% of artist-respondents reported that they don’t rent studios outside of their own residences, either. So I’m far from alone in managing my resources this way. My fears were based on assumptions of what a serious artist should be doing. But as Creative Capital mentors have said,

Artists! Don’t should all over yourself.

I’d love a bigger, more flexible studio one day, but for now, my little home studio is not too bad—and now that I think about it, it’s pretty great. I’ll try to take my own advice and Be Here Now.

WF made me this awesome trophy.

W made me this awesome trophy. Be here now!

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Meta-Practice

Goals: Looking back, looking forward

Be strategically optimistic. Imagine and implement advantageous conditions.

In 2012, I inserted these goals and attitude reminders into my rotating desktop photos:

  • Be active and injury-free.
  • Forgive.
  • Do six studio visits.
  • Enter [art] competitions.
  • Have a strong show of killer new work.
  • Make work that answers, “What would I do with a solo show?”
  • Be open [to new experiences].
  • Practice kindness.
  • Embrace adventure.
  • Practice gratitude, not garbage.
  • Be strategically optimistic. Imagine and implement advantageous conditions.

Most of these were attended to with solid efforts, to varying degrees of success. Many will require more time, intention and attention. I take it as a sign that these are good reminders for me, as they are not too easily achieved nor unrealistically ambitious.

All still seem like good ideas to carry forward into 2013. They’re what positive psychologists call “self-concordant”—rather than reflecting societal demands, they are aligned with my professional and personal goals.

If you’re thinking about making New Year’s resolutions, Creative Capital’s goal-setting tips might be useful. I have been using their goal-setting strategies for the past few years and highly recommend that artists espouse and maintain the practice. It is like plotting a course on an open sea.

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Art & Development

The Odds

While creating graphic representations of the odds of art competitions is not the most optimistic thing to do, I like how these graphics look, and with so many deadlines falling around March 1st, it seemed like a good time to post a few more.

Art Omi’s International Artists’ Residency received over 700 applications this year for 30 residency openings.

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or 1:23, or 4.2%

The webpage of Creative Capital’s 2011 Visual Arts Grant states, “we will support approximately … 23 projects” and “We anticipate up to 1500 Letters or Inquiry will be submitted.”
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or 1:65, or 1.5%

See more art competition odds.

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Values

What kind of art world would you want to participate in?

It can be easy to feel dis-empowered as an artist. You make your work and hope someone notices. You wait for a powerful gallery, curator or critic to make you a blue-chip artist so you can do biennials nonstop and live happily ever after.

But I don’t think it’s like that. Creative Capital‘s professional development workshop taught me that it’s better to focus my energy on my own agency: on the aspects of my art and life and career that I have power over. I learned that it’s possible and necessary for me to envision and shape an art world that I would like to participate in.

When I became a full-time freelancer, I gained a profound respect for professional practices. Two books were tremendously useful for shaping my principles: Marketing Without Advertising and the Graphic Arts Guild’s Pricing and Ethical Guidelines Handbook.

Professional practices are about people

Marketing Without Advertising, by Michael Phillips and Salli Rasberry (NOLO Press, Berkeley) is a handbook for small business owners and the self-employed to develop good reputations and encourage customers to recommend their businesses.

I appreciate its anti-advertising spirit, common sense advice and values-based principles:
transparency (Chapter 6: Openness: The Basis of Trust), and
respect in the workplace (Chapter 5: The Treatment of People Around You).

This is obvious, but it bears repeating:

The way you treat employees, suppliers and friends is an important element in gaining and keeping the trust of your customers…. One of the easiest ways for anyone to learn about your business is by talking to your employees. Because your employees’ lives are so intertwined with yours, and because affect them so directly, your treatment of them will almost automatically be communicated to their friends and family, even if inadvertently.

–Phillips & Rasberry, Marketing Without Advertising

The authors also identify common employee complaints, and how an open management style is better than developing important business policies in secrecy, resulting in the perception of arbitrariness of management and low morale.

Sometimes artists are given advice like, “You should be nice because you never know: the gallery intern you treated poorly a few years back might start their own gallery.” I agree with the principle — treat people decently — but not with the rationale — unabashed self-interest. What a travesty when people in the art world need to be reminded to treat people decently.

Agency through knowledge

The Graphic Arts Guild’s Pricing and Ethical Guidelines Handbook is a must-read for aspiring freelance illustrators or graphic designers. It provides an overview of current market rates, copyright issues, and how to create professional client relationships and fair working conditions. It also includes a useful series of contracts for services and licensing. Its basic principle is this: even though freelancers necessarily compete, it’s better for everyone — clients, freelancers and the industry as a whole — when freelancers operate professionally and have the agency to be treated fairly and create the conditions where our work is respected.

I wish there were a similar book for fine artists. [CARFAC is a great start.]

There are several books on professional practices for artists, but we rarely feel as though we are in positions to hold the institutions that we work with accountable. Few artists have the nerve to press the issue if a gallery refuses to use a contract, much less the leverage to collect debts punctually.

It’s been said that trying to organize an art show is like herding cats. The takeaway is that artists are too independent and flaky to organize. But you could say the same thing about freelancers, whose ranges of professional experiences and industries are equally disparate. The GAG doesn’t assume it will standardize the industry, nevertheless the Handbook provides landmarks for individuals navigating shifting seas and a bit of leverage in client negotiations.

A similar ethical guidelines handbook for artists would help individuals see the bigger picture. We’d feel more invested in the collective good of artists. We wouldn’t let our fear of being seen as temperamental stop us from advocating for being treated with respect and professionalism. We’d see ourselves as partners with agency, rather than lucky souls at the mercy of powerful institutions. We’d see developing these professional relationships not as acts of provocation, but as steps for setting up the conditions for shared successes.

Bargaining

There are, of course, options for collective bargaining. The art workers at the SFMOMA are represented by the Office & Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU) Local 3. Unfortunately, some arts institutions are more challenging to unionize than others. A lot of preparators are on-call temporary workers who haven’t got the benefits of salaried employment nor the pull of freelance wages to afford much leverage in when and where to work. (One alternative for itinerant preparators is to join the Freelancers Union, though the nascent organization focuses on insurance provision, and is largely based in New York.)

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