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Saturday, August 25, 2012

Don't Judge Me

I get an email from the NC Arts Council every month with postings for shows that invite you to apply with, of course, an entry fee. I have entered these shows in the past, some I have been juried in to and others  I have been turned down for.  A couple of years ago, I entered a show, got in and sold all three pieces. I was very happy to be in this show. There were some amazing pieces in it and I couldn't believe I was actually there. It was one of the first juried shows I got in to. I applied for that same show this year, with way better pieces and was turned down yesterday. The pieces I submitted this time both won prizes in the NC Landscape Show. Go figure....   I also applied for the Piedmont Craftsmen Show, a very similar show to the Carolina Designer Craftsmen Show, which I am a member of. Many of the artists in the Carolina Designer Craftsmen show are also in the Piedmont Craftsmen show, but I got turned down. Again, I paid a fee to apply.
This paying a fee to apply for a show thing is bullshit, and I am no longer going to participate. I have been invited to be in five shows this past year, all great shows, beautiful galleries and I am honored to have been invited. I didn't have to pay anyone to be invited to these shows. I paid a fee to apply to four shows, got in two of them. So I am out $75 plus the time it took to put together the application and submit the photographs. If I applied to all the shows that were on the last arts council email, all of which I would like to apply to and I could probably do well in, I would be sending in about $200 with no guarantee that the juror will like my work. And I would get that miserable email telling me they didn't like me :(
And that is what it all comes down to. Whether a person likes your work. Well, if you like my work, I want you to BUY it, I don't want you judging me and then deciding I'm just not quite the IN girl this month. And let's face it, there is a bit of a "club" here in NC with pottery shows. Paying to apply for a show and then getting turned down just sucks and I don't enjoy opening up that email that starts by saying, I regret to inform you.....  Ok, so I regret to inform YOU, but you can have your pay to enter shows. I'm not interested in beating my poor little fragile ego up anymore. I hate the emotional roller coaster of selling and showing my work. From now on, I am making work, putting in my Big Cartel shop, doing the fall shows, maybe a spring show if I can find a decent one, and making beautiful pieces for the galleries that support what I do and sell my work. Done, done, done with the jury thing. If you have a gallery, and want to have a show that includes my work, by all means invite me, I will say YES! But there will be no more applications being filled out on this computer, what a waste of my time. Not to mention the time it takes me to convince myself that my work is good and I don't suck. What is it about those rejection letters, they just send your mind into a downward spiral of self doubt. Well, I know my work is good, I continue to grow my sales each year and I get lots of compliments from people whose opinion matters to me. I'm just so tired of those moments when I start comparing myself to other artists that I know are better than me and then wondering what I'm even doing all this for. I do it for moments like last week, when I finished the barn with the wooden spool and I sat back all warm and fuzzy with a big stupid grin on my face. And when it's finished and someone falls in love with it, this will have all been worth it!  So, SCREW juried shows that you have to pay to apply to!!!!

14 comments:

Michèle Hastings said...

it can be so frustrating :-(
Jeff was in a cup show this spring, his cup didn't sell and they shipped it back... charging him more than 3x what it had cost him to ship it to them (it only went to VA!).
All those fees add up quickly.

Dennis Allen said...

I just got turned down for a show too.A Holiday fair, not an exhibition. We got scorecards and I was really ripped.Felt bad until I found out who the juror was and read her resume. Harvard grad, studied in China,long artist statement about her pots and the universe etc.

It's hard to be terribly original when you make cereal bowls.I could take the time to make fancy decorated that people will never use but it's not me and I would need to charge $50 ea for bowls and mugs.I'd end up standing around looking pretty and not selling anything.

Jury fees are a way to get a lot of cash in the coffers early on.$ 25 to $40 x 100 or more applications
less $100 to $200 for the juror leaves a chunk of change.

Tracey Broome said...

Oh yeah, Michele, I didn't even mention the shipping! grrr.....
Dennis, you make honest pots, the kind I like to use. Academic artists drive me mad with their opinions of pottery!!!!!!

cookingwithgas said...

Oh, girl I hear you and I no longer apply to any "juried" shows.
No thank you- I just don't need you to tell me what I am.
WE all know a good pot when we see it and like you I MISS just plain on good pots.
Why does a mug need to be a work of art?
Keep making and sell where you can.

PS- I found this big nail in the driveway that had been worn and worn. It called to go in with little girl in her house...

Tracey Broome said...

I know Meredith, give me those wonderful honest Seagrove pots any day! So cool about the nail, love that!

Hollis Engley said...

You're right, Tracey. Believe me, I understand ...

Tracey Broome said...

Hey Hollis, where you been?!? Thanks!

Hollis Engley said...

Summer on Cape Cod ... making pots. I'll be blogging more now. Glad you missed me.

Tracey Broome said...

Absolutely! Wouldn't be blogland with out you!!

Susan Gallacher-Turner and Mike Turner said...

Well said, Tracey!

I agree with you 100%! And what I want to know is...how has this become the standard thing now? I've shown and sold in galleries for years. But now it seems that everything requires a non-returnable 'jury fee'. It used to be returnable if you didn't get in, so at least you weren't out that money. Now, it's that plus paying for delivery shipping, return shipping and, of course, there's the commission percentage, should you sell at that show. It all adds up to less for the artist. And now, when it's even harder for artists to make money, shows are asking artists to pony up more money!

I've been bitching about the same thing recently. But I was too worried about others 'judging me' to put my thoughts on my own blog.
Maybe I will now. Maybe if more of us spoke up, and said no to the fees, it would stop.

Bravo, Tracey.

I'm glad I found your blog today!

smartcat said...

I have mixed feelings about fees for shows. On the one hand I know how much it costs to bring in a fairly well known juror and mount a good show. Entry fees go a long way towards defraying costs. On the other hand, a lot fees that are being set feel like fund raising rather than cost covering. BTW I think it's inconscionable to not ship by the least expensive method possible.
Tracy, saw this post and it reminded me so much of your houses I thought you might enjoy seeing your house in real life thesplorinwolfies-dot-blogspot-dot-com....scroll down to wednesday's post.

smartcat said...

P.S. Fees for gallery jurying? No way I am going to pay someone more than the percentage they get for selling my work!

smartcat said...

PPS Ooops, meant scroll down to Thursday at The Splorin Wolfies!

Tracey Broome said...

Susan, nice to hear from you:) I honestly feel like galleries are using this excuse of an "application fee" to generate income, just as the smartcat post suggests.
Love the photos on "splorin wolfies"!! I couldn't figure out what the hell a splorin wolfie was when I read your post, haha!