Wednesday, May 20, 2009

For What It's Worth No. 3

So far this year I've been asked to judge one show and have just finished looking over our show results and taking a look at another show that's been around much longer than us. Their entries dwarfed ours but it brought into question, why is there so much bad or mediocre work out there? I guess it's reasonable to expect there aren't 8,100 excellent pieces done in a given year, given the climate. And I'm not talking necessarily about the economy, but more about the lack of respect for illustration. The lack of juicy assignments or adventuresome art directors.

Not every piece that is entered will get in-- we are all looking for the very best work done in a given year. We for one do not subscribe to a quota, we never tell the judges how many pieces we're looking to have in the show. And all judging is done digitally so no judge knows how the others voted. I think this makes for a much cleaner show, no biases, no canoodling or bartering. And it takes a majority of the judges votes to have a piece accepted into our show. Which can disappoint a few people. There were at least another 70 pieces that just fell just shy of getting in our show and another 1,140 that would have met the two-vote requirements for some shows. Our show had 14% of the work accepted into the show, while the other major show had 04%. I'd say at the end of the day I'd rather judge 2,000 really good pieces and let the judges mutually decide on a top pieces than to labor through really bad work. 

One thing about judging, it's all subjective, What I always taught my kids at Parsons was if a piece gets in one show, be happy, if that same piece gets into two or more shows you know you've got a real winner. It's met the taste level of multiple judges.

One last thing, I'm concerned that I'm seeing a bit of the status quo happening. There doesn't seem to be any new movements as there was back in the early 2000s. Don't get me wrong, the really great work still stands the test of time but where is the next movement, the new stars, the next plateau? This is also the first year that I didn't see anything in our student show that really jumped out at me; all of it was very well done but I didn't see the next Andrew Hem who swept our show two years ago. Let's hope that it's just a fluke and not a trend. We need fresh talent and fresh thinking to move illustration forward.


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