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How to get your work selected for an Open Exhibition

Yesterday I was lucky enough to be selecting for Open All Media at RBSA, it was my fist time and I was on a panel with 4 very experienced artists. It was a digital selection which makes it harder for both the judges and the artists entering. The entering artist not only has to be able to make an artwork of a very high standard they also have to be able to photograph it, upload it, edit it and email it. While this may come as second nature to the younger generation who grew up in the technological age, to many it is a another world. But without these skills the most brilliant artist is not going to be able to compete and Open Exhibitions have become a leading way in which artists can get known and exhibit on a regular basis. Open Exhibitions is probably another essay in itself, so lets just say that they are something you are going to want to do at some point in your career as an artist. 

It was quite stunning to see not only the range of artworks that had been submitted but also the range in quality of the files submitted. RBSA is one of the more easy going artists groups so every entry was given time and consideration no matter how bad the slide, even entries in the wrong format were opened if it was possible, a lot of Opens would not be so accommodating. So here are my top tips for a good entry. 

1 Format.
Make sure your file is in the right format, this will usually be a jpeg, but read the application form to check.

2 Size.
Check the size of the file, this might be a bit technical for a few people but there were entries that were so small that when blown up they were just a blob of pixels. If you get this wrong you are just throwing money away. The work might have been amazing but we could not see it. The size of the file required will also be on the application form, too big and it may not attach to an email and too small and the judges cant see it. 

3 Colour
Photographs need to be taken in natural light, indoor light can sometimes give a yellow hew and too bright light can sometimes give a blue hew. Check that your whites are white. Not too dark and not bleached out. 

4 Glass.
As far as I am concerned photographing your work behind glass is an absolute no no. Reflections and distortions total spoil the image leaving the judging panel guessing as to the true nature of the work. 

5 Editing
You need to crop the image so that the artwork fills the image. Believe it or not we had every mistake you could make, even a thumb holding a photograph of the art itself. Many panels would have chucked that one straight out.

6 Size 
Some obvious mistakes were made when writing down the sizes of work, know the difference between centimetres and millimetres. A rookie mistake that could mean the judges are expecting a full size Pony and they get mantle piece ornament. This could mean the work was rejected at stage two when its taken in for final judging. 

I hope this has been helpful, many artists are getting this right and giving themselves the best chance of being selected, if you are getting one or two of these wrong you are drastically reducing your chances of being selected.  

Help is out there, ask someone you know or at your local library for some advice. 


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