Inside the Collection Process

On March 7, 2018, members and guests were offered another rare insight into a juror’s selection process for art competitions by two prominent figures in the Houston art world: Catherine D. Anspon, Executive Editor at Paper City Magazine; and Cindy Lisica, Ph.D, owner and director of Cindy Lisica Gallery. Both Ms. Anspon and Dr. Lisica are previous jurors for a past VAA exhibition.

When selecting pieces for an exhibition, some of the things these jurors ask themselves are:

  • Is it finished?
  • Have I seen this before?
  • Is there a clear vision?
  • Where does this come from?

Some of the constructive criticism and advice offered by the jurors:

  • Framing can destroy the work.
  • 3D art photographed with a background pulls it away from being an object of art.
  • Layers are a bit muddy. Make things more visible. A couple of elements need to rise to the top.
  • Precise but approaching “design piece.” Something needs to activate it.
  • Feels “sketchbooky”.Too controlled. Take one element and explore.

Other important points:

  • It is ok to mirror something you’ve seen, but make it your own.
  • Presentation is important. Framing can kill a piece. Also, 3-D work should be presented with no distracting background.
  • Original palette choice can add interest, especially for abstracts.
  • Surprise the viewer.
  • It’s good if the viewer can’t take it all at once – it needs to move the eye around.
  • There is a difference between fine art and decor art.
  • Embrace what paint can do!