Debbie’s art collective Palet sent her a few invitations to different competitions and open exhibitions here in the Netherlands. We thought this would be a great way to get some exposure. So, we entered three of her painting to the ZomerExpo 2011, an exhibition of 250 works from Dutch artists chosen from over 4000 entries. The selection process was anonymous so an amateur would have the same chances as a professional, it was all about the works not about the artists. In the period between the sign up and the selection round we made the decision to move back to the States, this created a problem for the works Debbie had entered because they were already sold and we would like to take them in our move which we have planned right in the middle of the exhibition. As an afterthought I had also entered one of my photo’s, if we were going to the selection rounds anyway it would not be a big hassle to bring one photo extra. I decided to follow through on this after thought.
So, on April 9th a took the train to Heerenveen where one of the selection rounds was held. The exhibition has three main classic themes: Portrait, Still Live and Landscape. I had printed Climate Change for the Landscape category and had it nicely finished by Bootsma with acryl, it looked really slick. In line with me were lots of artists, mainly painters with huge works, I felt a little bit insignificant with my 55 cm x 20 cm photo. But I still felt the power of the image worked on that size so in my mind it could still go either way. The selection process was in two phases. The first selection was on pure first impact, 10 judges had 18 seconds per work to decide if it would stay for the second phase or if the artist could just take it back home. Since the selection process was anonymous you had to hand over your work to a handler which brought it to the jury, if this handler came back empty handed you were through. In front of me was a lady with some huge paintings of sail boats which looked to be made on actual sails since there were still ropes and stuff attached to it. A bit tacky but still a novel concept I thought and the paintings themselves were not bad either.
While I was waiting for my handler to return, hers came back twice with the works. Shit, I thought, it won’t be easy to get through. Some anxious minutes followed until my handler came back empty handed! I was through to the next round! Only problem was the results of the next round would only be announced about 6 hours later. So, decided to go home and spend a few hours there instead of spending it in Heerenveen. The wait for the result of the second round were much different, now the cafeteria of the museum where the selection was taking place was filled with people who had already made it through the first round. The works were presented one by one, the artist had to come forward to collect it and would at the same time hear if the work would be shown in the main exhibition. During the wait I chatted with two other photographers, one a pro the other a student at a well known art academy in the Netherlands. I never found out if they got through because my work was one of the first to be shown and to my big surprise I was through!
My photo will hang in a museum! To be precise it will hang in the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague from July 9th until August 14th, 2011.
Update 28 May: The TV show (Kunstuur) that gave a behind the scenes view of the whole judging process also spend 5 seconds on my work.