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Observations from an emerging artist

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Michael Gager is a digital artist who specializes in creating outer space compositions and has never done an art show. He applied to the 2008 Main Street Fort Worth Art Show as an emerging artist. Besides getting to see all five of his images projected simultaneously across a 20 foot wall, he was one of the artists who stayed until the jurying was over on Sunday and was allowed to ask the jurors questions about his images. Upon arriving home, he sent me the following e-mail:

I am just wanting to say thanks for suggesting that I attend the open jurying process in Ft. Worth this weekend. It was an invaluable experience as I was able to meet and talk with a number of experienced artists and the show director, which I really enjoyed. I also got some very valuable feedback from the jury.

While I didn't make it past the first round, the jury was kind enough to comment of my pictures once the jurying was complete. They highlighted a HUGE mistake that I made (one that you warned me about). The first comment from the jury was that they didn't think that astro-photography was really art (or something to that effect). Basically they all thought my pictures were photographs. One of the jurors stated that he thought for a second that I had downloaded the pictures from the NASA site. You specifically warned me about that and I thought I had addressed it in my artist statement. After talking about it for a few minutes they recommended that I add the verbiage "not photography" to my statement. Once the jury understood that the pictures were original art, they made some positive comments about the pictures. One of the five jurors who missed the first day told me that she would have voted that I get in if she had been there.

They also made a number of really good suggestions as to how I can take the pictures to a higher level. First, one of the jurors told me that I should add more emotion to the pictures and explore less straight forward angles. Another juror told me that the image which was wide and short in panoramic format didn't seem to mesh well with the other three  They thought it would be better if there was more uniformity among the five pictures. They also pointed out (as you did) that the panoramic image was too small which made it very hard to make out all of the detail.

Basically observing the process has highlighted many things that I can improve.

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