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Recently, an FAA artist from Italy won the "Mysterious Venice" contest with a painting that was nothing more than a copy of a photograph widely available on the Internet. The artist's only saving grace was that the photo was in the public domain. The painting showed little originality in composition or style, and other than some added flowers and brighter colors, it was exactly like the photo. The message it sent to other artists was simple. Copy exciting photos, because real art is not judged properly on FAA.
In light of this, I recommend that FAA adopt guidelines for judging artworks in its contests. Here are criteria used by the Central Brevard Art Association of which I am a member.
Art is subjective. Each individual will view a piece of art differently based on his or her own tastes and sensibilities. CBAA therefore suggests the following aspects be taken into consideration when selecting the pieces of art that will receive awards.
1. Originality: Is this artwork the same old scene or subject you’ve seen many times, or has the artist presented something unique?
2. Creativity: Has the artist taken a new approach, or used a new technique to present a familiar scene or subject?
3. Mastery: Does the artist appear to have mastered their medium? Have they stretched and used their medium to its greatest potential?
4. Emotional Content: Does the artwork make you “feel” something? Does it “talk” to you? Do you feel anger, calm, happiness, nostalgia, pride, curiosity, sadness, etc.? Some or all of these feelings may be evoked by viewing art. Has the artist conveyed a message to the viewer?
5. Substance: Are you drawn to the piece? Do you want to linger longer in front it?