The city is bustling and all the local businesses in Grand Rapids, MI are thriving for the coming weeks. Artprize is here, the largest cash prize annual art competition is here. Art is everywhere and the public are talking about art and flocking to the city to see the hundreds of artists who’ve placed their work(s) on display. So why are local artists so annoyed by this yearly competition?
While I think Artprize does have its benefits, specifically to the GR economy, and is a fun idea, this American Idol of art doesn’t really do much for the name of art. The first year I found it fairly interesting and had trouble seeing why so many artists were against it, but the following year and the current have definitely changed my attitude.
Why Many Artist Don’t Like Artprize:
1) Anything goes. While this can seem like a good thing it seems kind of demeaning if you do art for a living and you’re put up against a car dealership decking out one of their wares with baubles and bedazzling. Check out the Artprize Worst blog to get an idea of what I’m talking about.
2) Advertisement. When I mentioned car dealerships and bedazzling I wasn’t kidding. If you walk around artprize you’ll see pieces done by various businesses and charities posting ‘art’ in hopes of gaining your support. One artprize entry this year is pimping their new graphic novel, except the artist isn’t getting the credit the author/musician is (which just annoys me in general). See below for a great example.
3) Vote for me! Everywhere you turn the artists are shoving business cards and/or postcards in your face. I understand you want me to see your art, but I’m less likely to do so if you are accosting me with ads. Can you imagine if Van Gogh, Da Vinci, Renoir and other great artist ran around art museums with Vote for me Cards?
4) You don’t stand a chance. Since Artprize is public voting you really have to pander to what the general populace will like if you want to win. Thus far a painting of a giant wave and a drawing of soldiers have been the winners of artprize with lots of giant spectacle likes pieces coming in as runners up. A guy who did portraits made a of push pins was in the top ten the first go around and the following year a giant penny made of pennies. I am wholly unsurprised that there are now tons of entries featuring portraits made out of smaller objects. How are paintings and drawings smaller in scale, but significantly better in quality supposed to truly compete in opposition to large overwhelming pieces. (I’m looking at you Steam Pig)
I’m not saying that Artprize is evil or that there is no good art wandering around, but there are really no standards in this competition. Why are businesses allowed to enter? Why are charities? Why can’t these places just set up booths to ask for donations or sell there wares during Artprize instead of taking up a venue spot? Or how about you talk to artists about the possibility of donating if they win the competition. Shouldn’t Artprize be about art and artist? As fun as Artprize can be it’s definitely wearing on me this year. Perhaps its that I keep having to direct people to the bathrooms. Or maybe its that people walk into our gorgeous library built in 1904 and are just annoyed that we only have art outside, not even bothering to appreciate a building that is a work of art itself.
Feel free to disagree with me, but I present to you why I take issue with Artprize.
HEY!! I found you! :D lol I've been *in love* with your DoctorWho/BTTF Crossover artwork since I saw it on here :D My boyfriend and I just recently went to DragonCon as Ten and Rose and had a photo op with Christopher Lloyd, so we made costumes inspired by your design :D I can link you to it if you'd like to check it out (if not it's on my tumblr ^w^) anyway, thank you so much for drawing it, it's absolutely awesome!
I’m glad you found me! Wow it’s such a compliment that you used my drawing as inspiration. I would love to see the photos!
So today I opened a redbubble account. I’ve had some people mentioning wishing my 'Back to the Tardis' piece was on a t-shirt and now it is. Other prints, stickers, and shirts will be added later. Enjoy!