Submitting to an open call can be a long, stressful process. Figuring out which open calls are right for you and applying yourself fully to each contest can be trying, but the flush of success from winning an open call can make great strides for your career and significantly impact your artistic practice. Winning an open call is a notable and demonstrated accomplishment. Once you’ve been celebrated for your contest win: what next? Where can you go from there, and how can you truly make the most out of your success? It’s crucial to gain significant momentum for claiming top honors in an open call quickly while the win is still in the news. Receiving public acclaim for your work is a formidable opportunity that artists should quickly take advantage of, and not take for granted. We spoke with a few artists who took home top prize in open calls and have consolidated their input into two general categories in order to better understand how artists can rise even further after an open call success.
After an Open Call: Make Your Work Stand Out
One obvious thing to think about is how this affects your portfolio. Your open call success will strengthen your resume, allowing you to stand out from other artists when looking to put your works in galleries and exhibits. You may even find other contacts reach out to you rather than having to seek them out. Making sure you kick into overdrive is key in this situation: don’t let your success lead to complacency. Continue to approach every gallerist you can, reach out to every collector you find, and make your presence known quickly. Success is fleeing: other contest winners will arise, and you want to capitalize on your recognition while it is still fresh.
Aside from contacting art professionals directly, putting your work in front of social media audience will another key element to getting your name in front of the right people. In general, having a strong social media presence as an artist is key, and it’s a good idea to show as much of your journey to success as you can. This is never truer than when you are celebrating a contest win. If people can follow you along your journey to success, they can connect to your achievements and be more committed to following – and collecting – your work. Getting a crowd involved and cheering for your open call victory allows them to get more of a sense of your evolution as an artist.
The more personally invested you can get your audience to be in your work, the more likely someone will be to wants to share your work with their friends or followers, who may include people who can put you on your career path. This is key to expanding on your existing audience and converting more fans to celebrate your work and career success. Certain social media platforms can be more conducive to sharing your art vs building an online presence, so having both a Twitter or Instagram as well as an account on something like Artrepreneur or Artstation will make sure you’re gaining a wide variety of responses to your work.
Keep Applying Yourself: ID a New Open Call
Keeping up the pace and continuing to apply to other opportunities while your win is still new is also key. While a single open call win may lead to new successes, the window of opportunity may disappear if you wait too long. Look into other open calls while celebrating a recent success, and you’ll be approaching a new chance for recognition with a positive mental attitude and a great amount of self-confidence. By demonstrating that your work is gaining interest from multiple sources and showing that you have consistency in quality and demand, people will be more likely to invest in your work. This also shows you have a good work ethic and are committed to finding new ways to put yourself out there and gain a wider audience.
There’s also something to be said for keeping up the pace. While a single open call win may lead to bigger opportunities, it also may not. Don’t rest on your recent success without striving for more. You don’t want to lose your momentum by sitting out other opportunities for success, which is why it is always worth it to continue looking into other open calls. Continue to challenge yourself: keep an eye out for open calls and contests that lie within the scope of your practice, but that will give you the chance to explore new themes or subject matter to expand the dimensions of your practice. Showing your adaptability and creative prowess through challenging yourself in applying to interesting and challenging contests. This will gain you more fans and more thorough consideration by the wider arts and creative field, whether or not you win the contest itself!
Being a successful artist and staying in the public eye is a constant, strenuous challenge. Art is a subjective field, where the most popular or successful artists are chosen by the court of public opinion. It means that minor successes can arrive often, but major successes can be few and far between. Open calls come in an array of formats, all with their own missions and challenges. Winning any contest, no matter how obscure or small, is certainly nothing to take for granted. Success for an artist is as much about talent as it is about timing. For new, aspiring artists, it’s key to look ahead to the next challenge as you build your career. Identify the best options for building career recognition through applying to open calls, and gaining some significant wins. Once you’ve achieved recognition, make sure to publicize it and keep the ball rolling: presence does not come easy, but it can go quickly.