Competition Questions

Hello. I have a few questions about submitting artwork to a competition.

I have a few paintings that I hope to one day display as part of a larger series in a gallery. Until that happens, I was thinking of submitting some of the pieces to an art competition at a local arts club.

Assuming the best case scenario and my work is accepted into the competition I have a few questions.

  1. Is it even advisable to submit work to a competition where there is a potential for the work to be sold? My concern here is that it might prevent a gallery down the road from wanting to display it with the rest of the series since it will no longer be for sale. Again, I’m assuming the best case scenario that I not only get accepted but that someone then wants to buy the work :slight_smile:

  2. Does it hurt my chances of being accepted into the competition if I list the work as “Not for sale?”

If anyone has any suggestions or insights into this I would be extremely grateful!

Thank you in advance!

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Hi Tony— as usual, great questions! From a virtuosity standpoint I do not see any reason that you would not be admitted to any competition that was thematically appropriate.

  1. This can be tricky. On one side it would only seem to drum up interest for a future exhibit to have an award-winning or publicly lauded work featured. Knowing that such a work is from a series it might get people to want to see the whole enchilada (think of it as a trailer for an upcoming movie). If the works sells you can always request from the buyer to loan the work to the exhibiting gallery for the duration of the show (perhaps even for the opening if the owner does not want it loaned out that long.) I borrow work from collectors all the time for different showcases and they are always happy to loan the works out. It indeed gives their acquisition more provenance. On the other side, if a work is a crucial linchpin for a series, and the owner will not loan it out, you may find a cohesive void built into the exhibition. I think the former is much more likely so if I was playing the odds I would favor entering the competition with the “best” piece you have regardless of its connection to the series.

  2. The link between chances and sale-ability is unknown. If the work is taking wall space away from works that the competition hosts may otherwise be able to profit from—then yes, it may hurt. But if the work is good enough to bring people in the door then they may not mind at all. Sorry to not have a simple answer here but there are a number of variables that we don’t have access to.

Hope this helps!

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Super helpful as always. Thank you very much!

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