Signed . . .Non-Exhibitionist

Dear Arrighi,

I would like to submit something for an exhibit and maybe the Letter Arts Review Annual. Do you have any suggestions about what I should submit and how to prepare the artwork for a juried show?



Dear Soon-to-be-Exhibitionist,

The first person who came to mind when this question came up was Marsha Brady. She has been a juror for the Letter Arts Review Annual and I knew she would have very valuable advice on this subject. I also found the Spring and Summer 1990 issues of Calligraphy Review which has comments from the jurors about the work submitted for magazine review.

For juried exhibits: It’s a good idea to know who the jurors are and then create a piece that is in the style that person or persons would appreciate. Now that seems contrived but the reality of the situation is that it gives you a better chance of being accepted. Submit your best work. Present it in the best way possible. Mat and frame it well. If it’s a great piece but presented in a shabby way it can be the reason it is eliminated. The framing doesn’t have to be expensive, but well done. Look at the piece you are submitting does it have harmony? Is there unity in all the elements? Does the over all look go with the words that you are trying to express? Have you done your best lettering? If you can say YES to these questions then you should go ahead and submit the piece. If it is chosen for the exhibit, it will be a joy, if it is not, then you know you did your best. This doesn’t mean that piece and another juror rejects it. Sometimes your piece isn’t keeping with the “show” as a whole. It’s a very subjective process. This is all part of the life of an artist. You have to start somewhere. But if you never submit anything, you can be SURE nothing will be in a show. Besides, people start to remember your work if it shows up for things all the time.

For magazine subscriptions: Take very good slides or transparencies of your work. Professional photography helps. Even the most wonderful work shown on a bad slide, will not be selected. Send close ups so the juror can see the lettering and detail that might sway them to your piece. Take the pictures before the glass is put on so the work shows without reflection. Don’t send a crumped old Xerox copy, or a snapshot from a distance, this conveys to the judges that you are not very professional and have little respect for the competition and your own work. If a copy is appropriate, then mat and flat it, that will show that you take your work seriously. It doesn’t hurt to send a little explanation with the submission. State the original size and purpose and any other information that the juror might find helpful in understanding what the piece is all about. Pack it all up well, so that it arrives in good shape and can be seen at its best advantage.

Above all, start submitting your work and getting the experience you need. Sometimes it gets in and sometimes it doesn’t.