Friday, January 26, 2018

Annual Spectrum Tithe

Yesterday was the deadline for Spectrum 25 submissions. I have watched a flurry of excitement, nervousness, and many conversations about submitting and what to submit on social media over the last couple of weeks. This year I have decided to not submit anything.

If today was your planned day to submit...
you might need to plan ahead a little better next time.

It is never an easy decision not to participate (or maybe it is), plenty have said that if you do not participate you are guaranteed to fail. To be honest, I think I will fail either way. Let me see if I can break down my thoughts on all this... but first, statements and opinions are my own, they do not reflect on anyone else nor should they be considered an endorsement or condemnation of anyone or anything. These are my own thoughts and takeaways on this matter, PERIOD.

It is not them, it is me - Spectrum is an yearly celebration of the best of the best in the fantastic arts. Obviously by now it should be clear that I am not the best of the best since I have not been included in all the years of submitting. That is fine. Not everyone can be the best. I have written at length about being happy that you are just 'okay'. Spectrum is a gorgeous book filled with incredible artists and their wonderful work. It has always been that and most likely it will always be that and there is nothing wrong with wanting to be a part of that.

It is not me, it is them - I have found looking objectively at your own work to be one of the hardest things to do as an artist. It has not come to be easily and it is something I battle with constantly. BUT, what I can say is that when I look at the work accepted into Spectrum and I look at my own work, I do see a difference and the difference is not necessarily a fault. It is the basis of the entire work for hire art field, a client is looking for a particular look, style, or type of work. Not matter how good you are, if you don't make the art that the client is looking for you don't get the work. Trying to look objectively, I don't make the work that Spectrum is looking for. YES... I know there is always a rotating group of judges, but if you look at the multiple year' worth of books, you can see a style and look that the books have.

I am just unlucky - Maybe I have submitted my work to the wrong section, maybe I submitted the wrong work, or maybe my submissions actually never made it Spectrum and they never saw them? Or maybe I am just look for excuses. I have had clients submit my work, which is incredibly flattering and lets me know I am at least doing something right. There are tons of submissions every year and if a piece just not jump off the table it might get over looked by the judges... or again, I am making excuses for not getting in.

Now is not the time - I make a lot of single figure monster images with little to no background. This, in most cases, is NOT what gets into Spectrum (this goes well with 'it is not me, it is them). But that will not always be the case. With my Grand Bazaar of Ethra VanDalia project I will be going larger more involved pieces in the coming year. No idea if these will be any more well received than my current work, but I don't really need to worry about it until the book is publish, after which time I can consider submitting. Currently I don't have a lot of new work that I can or should share in the context of Spectrum. I am busy looking ahead and focusing on my own project and book - I don't have the time to worry about second guessing myself and worrying about getting into Spectrum.

Nothing to show for it - It might should petty, but at the end of the day after submitting I have nothing to show for it. I spend a lot of time and money submitting my art to only get rejection. With Infected by Art, if you submit a certain number of pieces you are guaranteed a copy of the book, if you are accepted or not. That is super great in my opinion! Yes, I have been fortunate enough to be accepted every time I have submitted to IBA so far, but the fact that I would get a book out of it no matter what means a lot to me. I feel like my time and money are appreciated more when something is given in return.

None of this is should be seen as sore grapes. I have nothing but the highest respect to those that make it into Spectrum every year. You all definitely have earned you place in the annual. As I said above, it is a gorgeous book filled with incredible artists and their wonderful work. It is what it is, but I can choose not to participate because I am fair sure of the outcome and need to focus my money, time, and attention elsewhere. 

That is all for another exciting week on the blog, see you back here on Monday! Until then...

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