Monday, 27 February 2017

How do I know when to Submit Work?

'Landscape-Poem,' acrylic and spray paint on canvas, 30 x 22 cm

I used to waste so much time submitting work for exhibitions or opportunities which my paintings could never fit. I have learned to be selective and only to submit work when I feel that something suits my style or approach. It's not always a perfect rule - I was accepted for a Mark Rothko painting residency in Latvia in 2012, and did not expect my paintings to be accepted, though I knew I could complete the residency - but now I ask myself: does my style fit the brief? Do they want a wide variety of work? Figurative or abstract? I have learned that some markets are for me, some are not. There are always defining boundaries for any artist, though naturally if you have a name, most galleries will be inviting you for shows.

It is not usually a reflection on the work if you don't get the 'congratulations' email (though it can be, and I always push to improve my work). When I look at past winners or exhibitors, I get a feel for what the judges wanted. 

The painting posted above was only painted a week ago. I submitted it to an open call (one of several I receive each week in an email newsletter, from the Axis artists' database), from an art magazine called Average Arts. They wanted to feature artist's work for their March edition. I literally submitted at the last minute and the next day I heard that my painting will be featured in their next edition. I am pleased because this kind of exposure, with my website details, will possibly give me a new audience with the potential for more opportunities. I submitted because their call seemed to be for a wide variety of work. 

I also submitted - yesterday, again last minute! - paintings for an online exhibition curated by the Cultivate Gallery, London. One has been accepted for the exhibition (link to be posted tomorrow). All of this is encouraging.
'Anticipating Spring,' acrylic paint and spray paint on canvas, 30 x 22 cm

The above painting is also a new one. I feel that my work has evolved since my China trips, and from the inspiration gained from seeing ink paintings there and contemporary Chinese art. 

This past week I have also submitted work to a prestigious London show, and have another two submissions to complete in the next week. They are appropriate for my work, but of course that guarantees nothing!