January 1, 2009.
I'm doing whatever I do on a New Year's day -- watching football, watching news, watching snow not fall, or perhaps other equally interesting activities -- when my left front Levis pocket begins to vibrate, sometime around noonish. No troubles...just my Palm Treo letting me know of an incoming email.
It's New Year's, for Pete's sake, let the email be, one could argue.
One may be right, but, as we all know, deadlines don't wait for the holidays.
But, this particular email was not job-related. It was a notification that two of my works had been accepted to the Illustration West 47 juried annual and exhibition.
Illustration West is a product of the Society of Illustrators of Los Angeles, and one of the 4 shows to which I submit work every year in hopes of acceptance. American Illustration, Communication Arts, and the New York Society of Illustrators are the other 3 shows. Of course, there are many other annuals out there, but I try to limit the bleeding to these four.
There are varied arguments to the merits of entering such annuals.
Some don't do it because it's not a good investment of their time and energy, and their industry reputation is well-established.
Others do, because, if accepted, it can be a valuable means of advertisement -- being nestled amongst some of the highest quality work of the year, as judged by a panel of industry peers.
Being accepted to the (major) shows can also be viewed as a means of validation -- that one's art is relevant in 2009 and that a body of respected figures in our field deems one's work worthy to pass a certain standard of excellence.
Some of my earliest experiences in discovering illustrators came from perusing the annuals in the cozy little reading room in the Design building on the campus of Iowa State University. Gary Kelly, Brad Holland, Mark English, and Guy Billout lit up the pages and captivated my attention to their problem-solving skills and technical wizardry.
So, for me, the annuals hold particular value, and their entry fees remain part of my yearly budget.
Knock on wood, I've had some nice luck with the IW shows, and I'm very appreciative for having these two pieces selected for this year's annual.
All work will be displayed on-line at www.si-la.org, and exhibited at Gallery Nucleus in March.
If you'd like to read about them, you may check out my addiction monkey here, and Voyeurism here.
Allan Burch is an award-winning illustrator and portrait artist, providing solutions for editorial, book, advertising, and institutional projects.
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