In a recent article on Linked In, writer, Jeff Haden brought up some interesting points about what not to do in describing yourself. In his list of 16 terms one should not use to describe one's self: things that I hadn't given much thought to, but I'm sure I've done what he advises NOT to do. I think, as artists, we should take a good hard look at our artists statement and evaluate to see if we have used any of these terms (or, terms like it) to describe ourselves and what we do in our art.
"STOP USING THESE 16 TERMS IN DESCRIBING YOURSELF"
by Jeff Haden
"Picture this. You meet someone new. "What do you do?" she asks.
"I'm an architect," you say.
"Oh, really?" she answers. "Have you designed any buildings I've seen?"
"Possibly," you reply. "We did the new student center at the university..."
"Oh wow," she says. "That's a beautiful building..."
Without trying -- without blowing your own horn -- you've made a great impression.
Now picture this. You meet someone new. "What do you do?" he asks.
"I'm a passionate, innovative, dynamic provider of architectural services with a collaborative approach to creating and delivering outstanding world-class client and user experiences."
All righty then.
Do you describe yourself differently – on your website, promotional materials, or especially on social media – than you do in person? Do you use cheesy clichés and overblown superlatives and breathless adjectives?
Do you write things about yourself you would never have the nerve to actually say?"
I encourage you to read the article in its entirety and browse through some of the comments (more than 1,700 weighed in with their comments-and the comments often reveal even more helpful information). Although it is true, that no one is as knowledgeable as you are about what you do, we should give more thought to constructing our descriptions instead of taking a 'confetti' approach.
Having been a juror and a curator of art competitions, I can say that there are mistakes that are consistently made by entrants that negates them from becoming a contender in the art competition they are applying for before the reviewing process is done.
According to John R. Marsh, owner of Light Space and Time On Line Gallery, about 30-35% of the submissions for 12 recent art competitions that yielded over 8,300+ images, were missing the mark. In this article, John shares his insights as to how to not only avoid these mistakes (and what they are), but he also gives sound advice as to how to put your best foot forward (so to speak):
"8 Mistakes To Avoid When Entering Art Competitions"
(article written by John R. Marsh)
"The following are some of the most common mistakes that we see each month. When entering any art contest, try to make sure that you are not making some of these common mistakes when entering juried art calls and juried art competitions:
1. Thoroughly Understand the Competition’s Theme & Allowed Media
Understand what the art organization (who is running the competition) wants from the artist. If the prospectus or rules state that the competition is for 2 dimensional art, do not submit your jewelry, sculpture or crafts. If it says no photography, do not expect the organization to provide to you an exception. There are numerous other venues and organizations who are conducting calls for your type of art.
If you have any questions or concerns about the theme or what is acceptable media, contact and discuss this with the organization’s event staff first, prior to submitting your art. You can save yourself and the event staff a lot of trouble, wasted time, effort and money." YOU CAN READ THE REST OF THE ARTICLE HERE.
The advice the Mr. Marsh shares with his audience in this article is one that all artists should sit up and pay attention to. I would also add that if you are not willing to learn how to photograph your images properly and prepare them for submission, then, for heaven's sake, hire a professional to do it! If you don't know of one, ask around amongst fellow artists and see which name is used the most and go with that one. Especially if your work is 3D-it is very difficult to photograph 3D art objects properly. I would advise on not taking a DIY approach to this.
I've heard artists complain about the art work that wins the overall competition (as in, 'why did that one win?')-trust me, a lot of this has to do with submitting a good quality image of your work to begin with. When it comes to on line entries, the juror can only go by what they see in front of them. More and more art competitions are done by on line submissions, so if you want your best shot at any of these, be very mindful about following the submission guidelines and submitting the best image representation of your work.
From the blog, "Plagiarism Today" comes a great article that grapples with the myriad of complex issues that photographers today face amidst the landscape of the internet, social media, and other platforms:
Does this sound like you: Do you... -feel like you’re constantly scrambling to get your artwork finished in time for a show? -juggle many responsibilities and feel overwhelmed or frazzled from trying to get it all done? -wish you were more organized so you didn’t waste time looking for things in your studio or rushing to complete tasks? -wonder why you never get around to writing or updating your artist bio?
Well, you’re not alone!
The Rio Rancho Art Association is pleased to present our frist program for the year 2013 (and what a great way to start the year!) with Christine Hermanwhowill be our program presenter for the January program. Christine Herman is a creative catalyst coach and professional artist dedicated to guiding artists to find their greatest truth through the joyful gateway of creative self-expression. Her presentation will help artists to organize, get creative and make the most of their time and activities: This program will take place at the Jan 9th monthly membership meeting at 6:30 p.m. at the St. Francis Episcopal Church Hall located on 2903 Cabezon Rd.in Rio Rancho (the church is located on the corner of Golfcourse Rd. and Cabezon Rd.) in Rio Rancho. Meeting locations and program content is subject to change. The programs are free of charge and you need not be a member to attend. Find out more about each of these presenters by clicking on the links that are highlighted.