How to Judge Artwork - with Artist Bob Rankin

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hi I'm Bob Rankin I'm an artist an art

educator and also a judge at times I've

been fortunate I've juried over 150

shows in the Carolinas Virginia and also

out in Colorado and I've been asked many

times what do judges look for in a work

of art why do some works get into a show

and other works are eliminated well it's

a very easy process because good art is

good art whether it be representational

work whether it be abstract work or

combination of the two but they're

always looking for originality when I'm

judging a show I look for originality

one number one I look for creativity and

I'll look for the fact that they can

back up what they're doing with their

own technical skills and expertise I'm

also looking for an incredible amount of

self-confidence that the artist is

exuding oftentimes that only comes about

through many many years of developing

the craft so I also have been fortunate

to being have been included in every

major juried show in North Carolina

I've won most every major juried show in

North Carolina and I've been rejected

many many many many times from every

major juried show it hurts you know we

all have a certain ego you have to have

a very substantial ego in this business

if you're going to survive because

you're going to be knocked down

periodically but it's all about the love

of art and what it brings into your life

and that's why I continue to do it is

why I continue to enter juried shows as

a judge we're oftentimes asked to

eliminate many many pieces of work for

example in a typical show I might have

anywhere from three to five hundred

pieces of work and I have to narrow that

down to maybe 70 or 80 pieces that's a

difficult process it's easy to eliminate

the top two or three hundred then it

gets down to the finals and what are we

looking for well in any juried show

you're actually looking at work that is

lined up on a wall lined up on the floor

and we might have three to five seconds

per piece to let it capture our

imagination we're actually walking at a

fairly slow pace and that's our first

part of the during process so there has

to be something within that the

originality has to step out the color

combinations have to step out the

difference in canvas or sculpture has to

step out what makes it an original piece

for example I can use a very traditional

subject matter like this and yet come up

with a fairly contemporary flair to it

where I'm bringing my personality into

it that's what the judges are looking

for they want to see the artist

personality if you're going to use

something from a photograph that's fine

but you have to know where to depart

from the photograph and how to turn it

into a work of art so that's the

interesting part it's always good to use

photographs if you want to as a resource

but what do you bring to the table where

does the artistry take over that's the

important thing

so other works of art think about images

that have never been seen before for

example this was a statement of a beach

scape well I wanted something atypical

something that was not a cliched

statement and with that in mind this

idea came to me from my love of surfing

my love of anything that has to do with

water and being passionate about it when

I was surfing down at Wrightsville Beach

I was always amazed that on one side of

the barrier island you would have these

incredible breaking waves then you walk

a hundred yards on the other side you

have the serenity of the sound and I

wanted to show the contrast with that

well it's a picture within the picture

which creates a geometric form and then

I reference that geometric form with

another geometric form where I'm

burnishing the paint into the surface

and then giving a directional device for

example that line which can be a

metaphor for a mast or it can just be a

linear element

direct your eye down to that small

vignette or that small soundscape I

affectionately call this Soundwave and

that's done fairly well in some of the

juried competitions so stick with it

have a lot of self confidence in

yourself keep experimenting be as

creative and original as you can to any

approach and I think you'll have great

success keep at it

Thanks I'm Bob Rankin