Judging Other’s Art!

A work of art is such a personal and subjective experience…..how then can we judge that work??? I joined three other art colleagues over the past two days serving as judges, commenting on 200 art works at the annual Granite Ridge Art Festival. It was a challenge on the one hand, but on the other it was actually quite easy, and can be summarized by my favorite quote from last week:

Just because I critique your work doesn’t mean I know more than you, it just means I’ve done a lot more art than you!!! For many decades we as judges have been creating, teaching, and sharing art….in fact it was brought out well today when students and judges shared favorite art entries and an art teacher said that often growing up we hear how great our art is, but seldom do we have the chance to have our art critiqued by other professionals. 

Perhaps one of our more difficult assignments as judges was to agree on the “Best of Show” student art piece, that grand prize winner! But even that fell into place as we all realized the advanced design and execution of Emily’s painting below as she commented on her work of a submerged man and the difficulty in visibly portraying that concept;

Today each of us as artists were able to demonstrate our expertise (photography, sculpture, painting, and ceramics) and it brought the kids out of the woodwork! All of them had expertise in one or more of these areas and freely engaged us as we worked!

John began speaking with me as I threw pots on the wheel, and I realized it was his giant well executed handled vase that I and my colleagues gave first place in the ceramics category:

We spoke freely for twenty minutes about his process, how long this piece took to create and his future art plans in college in Iowa.

As in life in general I could only share, and we can only share and “judge” (lovingly critique growth and deficiencies) because of what we have already experienced. We get into trouble quickly when we try to go beyond that!

I had a great teacher in high school, and excelled in drawing, painting, and pottery, with wild reviews by friends, but outside of my teacher, I never remembered getting constructive criticism and honest ‘judging’ by other professionals. I am thankful we could be a part of this process and perhaps gained even more than those we critiqued!

Here a just a few of so many amazing works of art that were a part of the Festival: 

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