Tuesday, May 1, 2012

What's a "Call for Artists"? An Definition of sorts

No one on the Internet bothers to help describe what a "Call for Artists" was about.  I was looking this term up just out of curiosity and only found lots of art competitions and upcoming gallery shows.  Other words for the same term are: Call for Submissions, Submissions, Call for Entries, Art Competition, Art Show, Juried Art Show, Art Contest, Exhibition, Festival, Showing, etc.

Based on what I explored, a "Call for Artists" posting is similar to a "Help Wanted" sign; it's like a job opening for artistic workers.  Some job banks/boards that I've explored thru had posts from art-related companies like Starz Animation and Ubisoft for openings like: lead artist, FX artist, background artist, concept, modeller, etc.  There aren't any posts usually for illustrators to draw/paint a picture for a magazine article or renovate a new website design or make CGI (computer-generated imagery) for a digital media, except sometimes on art-specific job boards.  Being an artist for a living means finding your own job, with little to non-advertised openings, lots of cold-calling and running your own business as PR, Accountant, Lawyer, Administer, Courier and Retailer.  It's not all about drawing and painting.

Back to the point of discussion, I was looking up "Call for Artists" to see what kind of things were involved.  It seems similar toward an job interview for retail, office, or any workshop: you're getting your works of art analyzed if it's appropriate for a project/assignment or qualified for a show's theme; sometimes you need pay to enter into the event.  It does include also a cover letter explaining your reasons for the work you're submitting, your Curriculum Vitae (record of your achievements and past jobs; resume) and then prepping your works for a polished, professional presentation. After being given the "thumbs-up", you can go on to displaying your work for the show's venue.

Now for different reasons, artists enter into these events for either exposure, sales and awards.

  • Getting exposure would be like advertisement or promotion for your services but on a local or regional in-person level.  You may get to meet individuals in the same field as you to build up your network/connections too.  
  • As with all jobs, making some income to supply your services and other necessities is important.  Most shows would allow you to sell your original or print works and other products with your work for profit and cover your expenses.
  • Lastly with contests, this can give artists both resume reference and prizes.    Having your works receiving an award can boost your reputation for more work and the monetary worth is helpful too to help you keep working on your art.
  • One final reason would be that it's having the passion for making art.  
So with seeing a "Call for Artists" either in newsprint or online, it states an opportunity for a creative person by hobby or trade to break out their materials, produce an idea and engage in an event for fun and benefits.

August 16/12:
I found an online PDF by Americans for the Arts that explains "Calls for Artists" more in-depth, with other resources and advice.

Their Resource Guide:
Their website:

No comments:

Post a Comment