Why Joining Art Contests Should be in Your Bucket List

Art has come a long way, huh?

If you take a quick look back at all the art movements throughout history, you can easily see just how much it’s grown.

In the same way, the world has also seen an exponential growth in technology, causing concepts and theories to be easier to find and in shorter periods of time. The large pool of ideas that this brings about means more chances for people to be aware of their creativity and be accepting of their individuality.

But people learning to embrace their quirks also poses a problem: it’s getting quite difficult to be original.

Thankfully, history does repeat itself sometimes, and if there’s one thing we know about art through history, it’s that it keeps up.

Artists have been known to be able to constantly think up ways to expand their craft and stay relevant. Out of the many ways they do this, one stands out as having been around for quite some time: art contests.

What not many people know is that the concept of pitting artists against each other is not exclusive to the modern era, with possibly the earliest recorded art contest going way back in time, to the 14th century in Florence, Italy.

Today, art contests are relatively much easier to get into wherever you are in the world. Though there are exclusively national art competitions in many countries, there are quite a lot of global contests too.

Despite the fact that most of these contests are an email away, many people are still holding back. We went around and found these to be some of the most common reasons why many “closet” artists can’t seem to take the leap:

  • Fear of not being good enough
  • Fear of rejection
  • Fear of not being able to commit thanks to the many things they do to survive (yes, the starving artist trope is very real and happening in many parts of the world); and surprisingly,
  • Not knowing if there’s an art contest going on somewhere, or even how to go about them

The first two reasons are closely related to each other. With the immense amount of quality artistry everywhere one looks, it’s easy to get intimidated. But what creatives should realize is that these feelings are human and normal and everybody else probably feels the same way.

Our advice? Acknowledge the fear, and do it anyways. You might even find ways to take that fear and turn it into inspiration for your work. You may not be naturally confident, but if you fake it in the beginning, you’ll make it soon enough.

The quickest way to end a dilemma is to face it. Running away from the fear, and essentially, the chances of sharing your art to the world, will only make you tired and lonely (and regretful)!

The third reason is a sad truth that we’re all too familiar about but have learned to live with.

We see artists as these glorified versions of the people they really are. We seem to forget that many of them still struggle because to some, there “isn’t much of a future” when choosing this path, so they end up doing something else to survive, having no choice but to set the littlest time they could for their art. For others, leaving it behind altogether is the only way they could go.

It’s a sad irony that we live from day to day with art being all around us, and knowing only a few of these talents get recognized.

Here’s what we think: if joining these art contests is something you really want to do, try and look for all the ways you can. There are many free-to-join digital art contests that you can check out and maybe go for without having to leave behind the things that bring food on your table.

Who knows, these art competitions may be your ticket to a better life!

The last reason comes as a surprise because we spent a good chunk of this blog discussing how information is easier to get, so simply not knowing doesn’t seem sufficiently possible. But there has to be something in the way these art contests are announced that’s not letting it get to those who would want in on them.

We won’t promise to solve all your art-related problems, but we can at least nudge you to the right direction.

Here are some international art contests that you should really take the time to look into:

  1. The Lumen Prize

The Lumen Prize for Art and Technology was founded by former financial journalist Carla Rapoport in 2012. Since its launching, it’s given away over 80,000USD worth of prizes to longlisted, shortlisted, and winning creators of “the very best art created with technology.”

The people behind The Lumen Prize know that art can be done on a wide range of media. Because of this, artists can choose where their art is most appropriate from nine prize categories.

Unlike other art contests, The Lumen Prize committee of international selectors thoroughly looks at each entry. So artists can rest assured that their entries are given a proper chance.

  1. Never Such Innocence

The Never Such Innocence competition is one of the most prestigious art contests for kids. It’s open to young people aged 9-18, who can submit poems, artworks, speech, or songs that reflect how strongly they feel about historic and/or current events, both on a global scale and within a smaller society.

Winners are then invited to an awards ceremony, and their entries are published in a special Winners Booklet.

  1. Sony World Photography Award - Youth

The Sony World Photography Awards - Youth is one of those teenage art contests that’s more for teens who already have clear plans to pursue a specific passion.

It involves monthly competitions with varying themes. Entrants aged 12-19 are to submit up to three single images per month. The winners for each month will then compete to be named Youth Photographer of the Year.

The winner also gets to take home a range of digital imaging equipment from Sony.

  1. Science Without Borders® Challenge

The Science Without Borders® Challenge is an international student art contest that aims to raise awareness for ocean conservation through art.

The Challenge is open to primary and secondary school students aged 11-19, with scholarships of up to 500USD waiting for the winning entries.

Artworks will be put into two categories: (1) for students aged 11-14, and (2) for students aged 15-19.

The theme for the Challenge changes every year and aspiring entrants are encouraged to check the guidelines before submitting.

  1. Beautiful Bizarre Art Prize

The Beautiful Bizarre Art Prize is both a specific and non-specific art contest. Non-specific because it accepts entries in all static media and genres. Specific because it has to fall under the category of representational art. In simpler terms, it can be called literal art.

Unlike most art contests, artists can submit works that have been previously published or sold.

Aside from cash, service, and product prizes, the winner can expect their work to be exhibited in the grand Beautiful Bizarre Magazine exhibition and published in the Beautiful Bizarre Magazine, on top of global exposure through the magazine’s social media accounts.

These are only a small handful of the many art contests that artists of all ages and origins can consider joining.

While we believe that creatives should not stop themselves from going all out, we also respect that there are others who’d rather not join these art contests but would still like to share their craft.

Good news! You can put up a website where you can upload your creations and easily share them to friends and family.

You can start with a simple blog. If you’ve got the tech skills for it, you can create a website from scratch. If not, using site builders such as Strikingly is a great idea.

Screen capture of Strikingly's template gallery

Image taken from Strikingly product

Strikingly offers premade templates that users can then tweak around to fit their aesthetic.

Check out these awesome portfolio websites by artists who are Strikingly users:

Screen capture of Theo Karsenty's online portfolio

Image taken from Strikingly user’s website

Screen capture of MrNobody's online portfolio

Image taken from Strikingly user’s website

Screen capture of Man's online portfolio

Image taken from Strikingly user’s website

With Strikingly, you can go with a free plan to start and then upgrade later on if you wish to expand the possibilities your website can go.

After all is said and done, we all can agree on one thing: art makes the world bearable. The music we hear, the books we read, the movies we watch, and all other art forms we relish in remind us that the positives can outweigh all the negatives if we know where to look.

Let’s all remember to thank our artists for being the way that they are.

Whether it’s by joining art contests, or by uploading images of their art online, or by simply keeping their creations in intimate corners of their houses, it’s no doubt that artists can always find ways to be reminded of their worth and all the beauty that they pour into the world.