Tips for successfully entering an art competition

art competitionart competition
art competitionart competition


Tips for successfully entering an art competition

Taking part in an art competition will allow you to showcase your creative African art for buyers to see and for the public to discover. It can be a thrilling and uplifting experience, especially if you win or are awarded a prize. However, for artists who have never taken part in an art competition before, it can be a scary and nerve-wracking experience. If you are considering entering an art competition, read on below for some tips on a successful entry.


Read the rules thoroughly

One of the most important steps you must take before entering any art competition is to read the rules thoroughly before sending in your application. The organisation or institution who is hosting the event has put these rules together for very specific reasons and in order to be considered for application, you will need to follow them.

You will need to adhere to the theme of the competition (you cannot enter an African art photograph in a competition focusing on Japanese paintings) and you will need to label, size, and name your art in the manner that is specified by the rules of the competition. This is because the judges need to be able to administer, process and judge the art in a thorough and systematic manner.


Be aware of the deadline

Once you have read over the rule of the competition thoroughly, you will need to remain aware of the deadline while you are creating your pieces or selecting current pieces for entry. The schedules of the judges, the marketers, the curator and the venue revolve around this deadline and it is unlikely that they will accept anything once the deadline has closed.

An artist cannot expect a competition to bend the rules just for them, so you will need to be prepared ahead of time in order to enter it on time. The deadline is important and it will also show that you have a level of professionalism if you send in your submissions ahead of time, with enough time to make any changes to your competition entry. Always find out from the organisers if there is room for extensions if you want to enter more than one piece into the competition.


Select your best works

So, now that you know when to submit your art and what the rules are, you can select some of your best pieces for consideration. You might favour a particular piece for certain reasons; it might have taken you a year to complete, you might have used a new skill to create it or the topic might be close to your heart.

The judge and jurors won’t know this, and it is unlikely that they will care about your reasons for submitting that piece. They are looking for high-quality work that fits the brief, so you will need to choose your best work that meets these requirements. You could ask your friends to objectively judge your paintings or sculptures of African art to see if it suits the theme and rules of the competition or ask for advice from a gallery or curator to see what their verdict is.


Make sure all photographs are high quality

You will be submitting photographs of your artworks to jurors before they see the real thing or hang your work in the venue for the competition, so you will need to ensure that all the photographs of your work are high quality and do not have any distracting backgrounds (such as your cat sitting on a desk behind your painting).

If your painting is poorly lit in your photographs, the judges will not be able to see its true beauty, skills or the actual colours of the piece. This makes it difficult for them to make a decision on your work, and could cause you to lose the competition or not even be considered for exhibiting at the venue. You could ask a professional photographer to photograph your art, as this will ensure that it is of the highest quality and you can keep the prints and use them for other competitions or exhibitions.


Check your eligibility

This is an important step as it can save you hours of work and embarrassment if you do not meet the eligibility. If the competition is open to everyone and does not have any restrictions, this is great for new and emerging artists, as you will gain valuable exposure from judges and jurors.

However, if the competition is only open to artists whose African art has been exhibited before then you will have to adhere to these rules. You cannot be eligible to enter a competition if you do not meet the criteria, so be sure to check this before you send in any applications. Similarly, if you enter a framed painting into a competition, you will need to make sure that it meets the sizing guidelines. Be sure that when a competition says ‘Open to all’ it is truly international and not just ‘open to everyone who lives in South Africa’.

art competition