Updated: Oct 14, 2021
Above: felt :: feutre canada’s Shrine exhibition in 2018.
This week, we chatted with felt :: feutre canada’s Janet Tulloch, a member of our exhibition committee. She had some very valuable advice about preparing professional looking exhibition submissions.
To learn more about Janet check out this felt :: feutre canada interview from last year.
Do you remember the first exhibit you were in? How did it change your creative life?
Yes. I won second prize for the best artwork in an open call by the Hamilton & Region Arts Council. I was only 28 and worked as a fine art photographer at the time. My large, colour photograph showed two different workplaces superimposed: one over the other: an office and a construction site. No fancy photoshop tricks. Everything was taken in a single shot whereby the construction site was reflected in the mirrored windows of an office across the street. It was purchased by the architectural firm responsible for the construction site. Magazines started writing articles about me and I started to receive invitations to show in public galleries.
Why do you think it’s important for artists to submit their work to shows?
One never knows who is paying attention: important curators, exhibition coordinators, art magazine writers, art critics, and so on. One’s work gets noticed by people in all sorts of different professions, not to mention by art buyers.
When an artist is preparing to submit their work to an exhibition call, what should they consider?
Photographing one’s work as accurately and in focus as possible is of primary importance. Artists should pay attention to what the jury wants, no more, no less. Make sure the image file size falls within the requirements requested by the jury. Artist statements should be short and pithy. Don’t tell the jury how great your work is. The jury can and will decide for themselves. Also, make sure your Artist’s CV or resume is up to date. I update my own CV at least twice a year – sometimes more. If the jury limits resumes to three pages, only include three pages. No one looks beyond what is requested anyway.
What advice would you give to artists wondering how to photograph their work?
Either find a professional photographer who can photograph your work as described in the entry call or learn how to do it yourself. There are a number of good YouTube videos online that demonstrate how to photograph artwork. Some even show viewers how to do this with a smartphone. Taking the image of one’s artwork is the first part of the process; editing one’s image with photo-editing software is the second. Artists need to learn both.
When you’re curating an exhibit what role does the artist’s statement play in your decision making process? A clear artist’s statement is relevant for the backstory behind a work of art but less significant than the actual artwork submitted. I have heard of juries that had no idea what the artist was on about in their artist statement but when the artwork was viewed, the work was accepted into the exhibition because although the artist statement was confusing, the artwork was not.
Are you currently preparing for an exhibit? Yes. I have a confirmed solo exhibition for the gallery at the Ottawa Civic Hospital in December 2021. But the truth is, I am always preparing for exhibitions because I am always making things. I have been in two virtual exhibitions so far in 2021 and there will probably be others or some I might be invited into in 2021 or 2022.
Thank you, Janet for sharing your expertise.