some observations from a juror

last week i think it was, i had the distinct pleasure of jurying my first exhibition and might i say it was exhilarating! i love it. i'm hooked. but it was also a fascinating experience being on the other side of the application, looking at what other artists do. i've worked very hard to create a professional presence. not having attended art school, i've always felt behind the eight ball when it comes to the business of art and to compensate, i study, read and research all the time to make sure i'm meeting the expectations of other art professionals and hoping to stand on equal footing with those professionally trained. what i learned from this jurying experience is that my assumptions were wrong.

most of the issues i witnessed in the submissions i reviewed i've seen spoken about over and over again on other blogs, in books, etc. they seemed like givens to me and in the back of my head, i though "who would do this?". evidently, quite a few. i know that those who read my blog would never do this, but just to be on the safe side, or if by accident some newbie stumbles across this post, here are some observations which will hopefully improve your chances.

please make sure to use the appropriate file labeling as specified in the call. DSC-001.jpg tells a juror absolutely nothing about who's work it is. how am i going to pick your work from that? seriously. if a juror is slammed with responses for a call, i can tell you they probably aren't going to take the time to sort out who's file that is. it will be automatically tossed out. for that matter, follow ALL instructions with respect to images, be it size, format, whatever.

did you really want to submit a photo of work which is dirty, creased, stained with ink splotches, taped to the wall with masking tape, poorly lit, etc? is that really putting your best foot forward? when there are other people, presenting professional level work and photos, do you really expect the juror to choose your poorly handled and represented work?

did you actually read the call? is the work your submitting in line with what is the topic or theme of the exhibition? i realize that there is a degree of interpretation involved when trying to decipher calls. i'm doing that myself right now with an rfp for an exhibition. but if the call is for portraits and you're submitting landscapes, you're throwing your money away. i don't care how beautiful your work is.

if the call is asking for details on the pieces, e.g. the size and medium, please, please, please provide it. the juror and venue actually do need to know the sizes of work. a 48" x 60" piece takes up a lot more room than a 12" x 12", and wall space is not infinite. if the juror has to track you down to find out how big a piece is, and there are plenty of other submissions which will suit equally as well with the specifications provided, you'll probably be eliminated. if you really want to do it right, submit the information as a pdf in a simple, detailed image list noting each file name, name of piece, medium, dimensions, year and any other pertinent information requested.

know your limitations - know what work you've committed for what time frames and don't double book. this is a juried exhibition, and i doubt any juror is going to allow substitutions. and offering prints as a substitute? really? that's unprofessional and is going to earn you a bad reputation.

i'm assuming that you love your work. do it justice. present it well. don't half ass it.