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Brookside 2009 ZAPP Jury

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The Process
The images were projected but monitors were used for scoring. The jurors could see the thumbnails on the monitors and if they clicked to enlarge them they were able to read the individual artwork descriptions (example). Occasionally a juror would ask for the images to be paused and click on a thumbnail to enlarge it on their computer to read aloud the individual description so they could better understand what the artist was trying to do. One of the jurors was extremely irritated with misspellings.
It was a good experience having the jurors together in one room. I wouldn’t want to jury at home because the interaction with other jurors causes you to think more about what you’re seeing, especially if a juror wanted to stop and question what they were looking at. Jurying alone you have to catch yourself from only selecting the kind of work that you like.
The jurors were encouraged to fill in the comment line (example) to give feedback to the artists because the director felt that for the price of the jury fee, the artists deserved the feedback. Luckily one of the jurors could type in the dark so they put in the comments from those jurors that had them.
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The Words
Artists really need to work on the individual artwork descriptions, balancing their technique vs. what they are trying to get across to the jurors. Some artists would get lost in the wording of their technique. One that stands out is that ceramicists had a tendency to specify how hot their kiln was, and unless you’re a ceramicist, nobody cared. You want to have enough information about the technique that the jurors can tell how complex or simple the process is.
One of the artists said “free beer for the jury at my booth if I get in”, in their artist statement.
The Booth
If we were looking at the images and couldn’t quite grasp what the artist was doing, we’d go back and forth to the booth shot.
Somebody is plunking their booth down in the middle of a background. It was cute once but there were three or four people doing the same type of thing. The jurors commented “what was that” the first time and “there it is again” the second and third time they saw something similar.
I saw jeweler’s booth pictures that didn’t have any jewelry in their booths and it didn’t work well.
Some first year artists put in their statement that this is their first professional show and the booth is borrowed from so and so and they will be purchasing one just like it, so this is a picture of so and so’s booth.
The Images
A few of the non-exhibiting artist jurors commented that it’s the image that counts and they didn’t care how the artist got there, which is why it helps to also have working artists on the jury to balance the perspective.
One of the comments that came up about photography (from a photography instructor on the jury) was that there were some very good wildlife/nature photographs that were, or similar to, stock images that were available for sale on the internet and whether these photographers had sold them to the agency or maybe these people are borrowing other people’s images, though one photographer this was mentioned about did get into the show.
Backgrounds don’t matter as long as they’re not distracting. I don’t think it mattered as long as it worked with what they were doing and were not a distraction from the artwork itself. Certainly good lighting makes a huge difference in jewelry and pottery. The last time I juried a show was about ten years ago and we would see paintings with grass or a picket fence behind them. We don’t see anything like that anymore.
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The artist who let me do this interview prefers to remain anonymous

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