Art Competition Odds

Art Competition Odds: Elimination Tournaments

What would happen if you visualize an art competition as a tournament?

Though the tournament model differs from how artists’ submissions are usually juried, it seemed worth experimenting with it for understanding art competition odds.

In Unsolicited Artists’ Advice: Updated Tips from a Juror, I shared this data visualization:

The distribution of points, on a scale from 0 to 17 possible points, of 116 applications. The organization requested that I submit my top five picks.

The distribution of points, on a scale from 0 to 17 possible points, of 116 applications.

In this open call, only the top five of 116 submissions were awarded residencies. The points distribution reveals how even submissions that received pretty good scores of 12 or 13 still fell short. It also shows how receiving an average score of 9 or 10 is not even close to being competitive.

Here’s a visualization of a single-elimination tournament with 116 competitors. Every competitor has a chance to become the champion. But the champ will be the only one who wins seven increasingly competitive, head-to-head matches.

116 tournament2

A model of single-elimination tournament bracket with 116 competitors. The highlighted area is shown in detail below. // Source: Challonge.com

116 tournament detail

Detail. Note the two stacked grey bars represent two competitors in a match. The match at the right is a quarter-final. 

If this tournament represented the residency call cited above, in order to rank in the top five and receive a residency, a competitor must:

  • beat four increasingly tough opponents,
  • get to the fifth elimination round—the quarter-finals,
  • advance to the semifinals or have the best score among four losing quarter-finalists.

If you think about these two models together, you can imagine that about half of the applicants—including those who received 10 points and under—never made it out of the first elimination round:

chart2

Speculative visualization of competitors eliminated in first round.

Then, all but the top five competitors were eliminated in the second, third, or fourth elimination rounds:

chart3

Speculative visualization of competitors eliminated in later rounds.

So to visualize it another way, the top five competitors’ advancements through the tournament might look something like this:

116 tournament2

Speculative tournament showing the top five competitors’ journeys through the brackets. All grey boxes represent eliminated competitors.

Artists’ submissions are practically never judged head-to-head as in an elimination tournament. But perhaps this model is useful as another way for seeing how competitive an applicant must be in order to see rewards.

What makes athletic tournaments so scary is the live performance—fear of failure, embarrassment, and disappointment. At the same time, even losing athletes gain experience that can’t be replicated. Eliminated artists, on the other hand, are cut out of that part of the process. Spared the anxiety of performance, we lose opportunities for evaluation. Artists scoring 3 or 13 points may receive the same rejection letter and generic encouragement to re-apply next year. When a staffer informs the applicant they were a finalist, or shares even a tiny amount of feedback, it is meaningful.

What can artists do? Espouse deliberate practice. Ask for feedback. If you can’t get feedback from juries, ask trusted colleagues to review your application. Make the most of professional development courses.

What can jurors do? Note remarkable artists. Ask for studio visits. Keep them in mind for exhibitions. Invite them to stay in touch.

Standard
Thought Experiments in Agency

The Artists’ Personal Impacts Survey and Raffle at LMCC Open Studios

Gathering data about artists’ agency and attitudes.

For LMCC’s Open Studios with Process Space artists-in-residence last weekend, I invited artists to take my Artists’ Personal Impacts Survey  and enter a raffle to win one one of ten Irrational Exuberance (Asst. Colors) Mini FlagsYou still can take the survey and enter the final raffle drawing to be held in a few weeks!

Thanks to everyone who has taken the survey and visited Open Studios.

artists take the personal impacts survey

Paper cut signage with sample questions and in-progress results.

Q2. Currently, how would you rank how the art market serves the majority of artists? (Responses as of 9/27/2015 4:45pm.)

Q2. Currently, how would you rank how the art market serves the majority of artists? (Responses as of 9/27/2015 4:45pm.)

Q22. In what domain do you experience competence? (Responses as of 9/27/2015 4:45pm.)

Q22. In what domain do you experience competence? (Responses as of 9/27/2015 4:45pm.)

Q33. How much did these experiences of participation, collaboration, generosity, exchange, re-distribution or non-participation increase your personal sense of optimism? (Responses as of 9/27/2015 4:45pm.)

Q33. How much did these experiences of participation, collaboration, generosity, exchange, re-distribution or non-participation increase your personal sense of optimism? (Responses as of 9/27/2015 4:45pm.)

Q39. In the next six months, how likely are you to take steps to create or strengthen an art world you would like to participate in? (Responses as of 9/27/2015 4:45pm.)

Q39. In the next six months, how likely are you to take steps to create or strengthen an art world you would like to participate in? (Responses as of 9/27/2015 4:45pm.)

The first eight of ten prizes were raffled off during Open Studios.

The first eight of ten prizes were raffled off during Open Studios.

Two more flags will be raffled off in the coming weeks! Complete the survey and enter the raffle. (Writer Jessie Chaffee's studio in the background.)

Two more flags will be raffled off in the coming weeks! (Writer Jessie Chaffee’s studio in the background.)

Complete the survey and enter the raffle. There’s still time to win the last two flags!

Learn more about the project.

Christine Wong Yap is a participant in Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Process Space artist residency program.

The Artists’ Personal Impacts Survey was developed as part of Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Process Space artist residency program in 2015.

Standard
Research

Happy Happy Joy Joy

A few questions about the intersection of art, design, and psychology.

Do you like your data:
[ ] Cheeky?
[ ] Data-rich?

Do you like your psychology:
[ ] Positive
[ ] Negative
[ ] Empirical
[ ] Practical
[ ] Experimental
[ ] Applied

Do you like your holiday cards:
[ ] Amusing
[ ] Informative

Do you want your ideas to:
[ ] Reinforce your brand
[ ] Enhance understanding
[ ] Enrich experience

GOOD and OPEN's Mean Happiness data visualization.

GOOD and OPEN's Mean Happiness data visualization. April 6, 2010.

“Today I’m Feeling Turquoise,' Pentagram's holiday cards.

“Today I’m Feeling Turquoise,' Pentagram's holiday cards, pairing colors with moods.

Standard