Artistic Competition

I often wonder where the idea started about holding artistic competitions for prizes and awards. Any art is highly subjective to an individual which opinions will differ between people. Even the winners of said competition could have people debating as to why the winner was chosen over the competition. Then to think an award really gets you attention and future work as an artist can be dangerous. Which is why I won’t enter most contests just for the sake of it.

Contests for prizes are the worst type of contest for any artist to partake. Over the years I’ve found that when businesses hold an artistic competition for prizes are just looking for cheap work to pad their stock collections. They use shiny prizes that many creatives may want in order to get them to enter. For the majority of prize contests that I’ve read the rules and fine print for it blatantly says that by entering the contest the artist gives permission for the entity to use the work freely and without proper credit. So what good is it us creatives to simply give up our work without some compensation? Contests only compensate the winners and ignore the rest, while they get to sift through any number of great works for future use.

If you are wanting to be an award winner as a creative professional, then look for contests that have some respect among professionals. These are often held by professional guilds or well respected organizations that have been around for some time. However, no matter what the contest is or who it’s held by it pays us creatives to read the fine print to know how our work is treated. If your work is open for other uses outside the contest, I advise you think twice.

Besides as creatives what does an award do for us? If it’s to know you are a better artist than others, then I’m sorry to burst your bubble, that’s a waste of your precious time. An award doesn’t make you a better artist, it is practice and the confidence in your abilities to create that is developed over time. Confidence also reassures others that you are the right person for their project. Really what’s more satisfying, knowing others come to you for creative work or a little one time award that sits on your desk?

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