Open For Business: How To Respond To An Open Call [for ArtWeb blog]

Recently, I have been writing for ArtWeb – a resource for aspiring artists which hosts art websites and offers advice on everyting from Facebook pages to private views.

Here is a brief snippet from a ‘How To’ post I wrote on crafting the perfect open call response. Enjoy.

Open For Business: How To Respond To An Open Call

funny sign
Image by Imagik1- in the USA this July used under a Creative Commons license

Life as an artist can sometimes be overwhelming. What with juggling the day job to pay the rent; explaining to colleagues what it is, exactly, you do; researching the gallery your friend has just hired for two and three-quarter days down a cul-de-sac in Dagenham; and shipping back an unused easel you barely have any time left to eat or get down to real work…and then you have a deadline for a group show open call to complete before sunrise.

Just how open is an open call? Don’t they already know who they are calling out to? Most of the time the answer is: no, they don’t.

Responding to an art open call is a balancing act between artistic flare and formality, time investment and pay out, appearing confident and just being overwhelming. This post is designed to run through some simple tips to help you mould the ideal open call submission for the brief so that you make an impact without shoving your work down the curator’s throat which means you will present yourself as very, very professional.

1. Making a statement

Your artist statement should be a work of prose. It should say something about you. It should say something about your work, but it should also sell the idea behind it. Always write in the third person (…like Jack does…) and open with the themes your practice deals with – linking it to the exhibition. Statements are short and they state facts. Mare sure it doesn’t stretch over a page. Write in short sentences.

2. Artist CV

Artists’ CVs do not, like occupational CVs, have a set format. They do, however, need to be concise. The very, very basic things to include are: Name and contact details; any art-based education; solo exhibitions and open studio events; and group shows and festivals. If you have any relevant experience teaching, volunteering or commissions add these at the end. Make sure each subheading is in chronological order. It sounds ridiculous but you would be shocked what can slip your mind.

Artists’ CVs are important because they place your work as an artist in the same sphere as a property surveyor or investment banker. They let the judging panel know that you have done this before, that you are driven and engaged in your work as an artist. Lazy artists are nightmares to work with; they show up late and don’t want to pick their work up at the end of the exhibition. Don’t conform to type. Please…

This article was originally published via ArtWeb and the full post can be read here.

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