Posts Tagged 'contest'

Art, Murals and Contests

Although art competitions ostensibly exist to benefit the artists, the contest holder is always the chief beneficiary, as shown by a local hardware store’s mural contest a few years back.


The Victor Clothing Company’s Anthony Quinn mural in Los Angeles was quite impressive when I saw it years ago. Since then, murals have come into vogue in Southern Ontario.

Creating a mural is not easy, nor cheap, and requires maintenance. Currently the the stunning mural created by Eloy Torrez in Los Angeles is in serious need of restoration after 27 years.

Murals Come to Elmira

A competition was announced: five local artists were selected to design and create their own original 6′ x 6′ murals on the blank wall facing the Elmira Home Hardware Store parking lot.

1. Linda Brubacher

Elmira's enlisted - Lest We Forget

#1. Linda Brubacher

2. Trevor Martin

Sugar Bush

#2. Trevor Martin

3. Pat Lackenbauer


#3 Pat Lackenbauer

4. Jo Oxley

A quilt of local family names

#4. Jo Oxley

5. Paul Wilson

Sprts team logos in the 4 corners, fountain of memories etc

#5. Paul Wilson

The way the contest worked, interested folks could vote for their favourites, but voters had to pay for their ballot. In this way, the Home Hardware campaign “raised about $2,500”.

California’s Victor Clothing Company commissioned artists to create the now famous murals.

In comparison, Home Hardware got a wall full of free murals, a reputation both for “supporting local artists” and for providing the community with public art, a  charitable donation, and all the accompanying publicity.

The community got some nice public art which remains in reasonably good condition almost seven years later.

And the artists?

They had to undergo a selection process, then conceive an idea, plan out the design, and then actually paint the thing.

Trevor Martin’s winning mural paid him $500; not a terrible return for work he estimates took about 24 hours.

The other four artists each received $100. If it took them each ten hours to paint their murals, they may just about have managed to earn minimum wage.  My guess is that each mural took well over ten hours to paint, so except for the winner, none of the artists are likely to have even earned minimum wage.

Pretty good deal, right?

The rest of the money raised was donated to charity.

An argument is usually made that the artists get exposure from a contest like this.  In some cases it can be valuable, but artists still need to eat.  Plumbers need exposure, too, yet I can’t recall anyone suggesting that they should donate their work for it.  Perhaps in future supporting local artists might mean paying them a reasonable amount for their work.

But even if exposure is an important consideration, is a contest like this one the right kind of exposure?  Particularly when there is a “winner”, well, we all know what the word for a non-winner is. Does that kind of exposure really help an artist’s career? And who are the judges?


These days you can find all manner of art “contests” online.   The artist is generally required to herd their family, friends and fans to the contest venue to get them to vote.  Most of the ones I’ve seen don’t require a simple voting, but repetitive voting over time.  And before people can vote, they have to register, and give up a lot of personal information. (Guess where SPAM comes from…)  So again, the voters pay the price. Do you really want to do this to your fan base?

So I have yet to wonder about any net benefit to the artist.  Although a contest dangles a prize, is that prize worth the price you have to pay for it?

know what you’re getting into

Before even creating a contest entry, let alone posting your work, always read the contest rules. Any contest submission will necessarily transfer or sharing at least some of the artist’s rights to their own work to the contest holder. [As does posting your work to any website that you yourself don’t control.]   Be very sure that you know what you are agreeing to. And that you can live with it. For artists, the main advantage to the proliferation of art contests is that there is always another contest.

Because, after all, the main beneficiary of any contest is always the contest holder. After all, they get to make the rules.

The back wall facing the parking area with 5 finalist murals

and the winner is?

Siren Song: CIRA Contest

I have so many other things to do but somehow I keep getting drawn back to the CIRANEWS page on YouTube to see if there have been any more video entries for the Show us Your .CA contest.
[editing insert 2010-03-21T00:40:50+00:00… Seems CIRA elected to remove the contest entry page from their website. Resulting in broken links like this one. Funny, I would expect a domain name registry like CIRA to understand how the internet works… wouldn’t you? Better keep an eye on the rest of the CIRA links when the contest finishes, eh?]


To see the other entries you’ll need to go to the YouTube CIRANEWS page, and I spent a wee bit too much time watching them all yesterday. I understand all the entries are not yet online so I’ll have to check the rest of them out later…. its too nice to stay indoors.

(That’s just one more reason why *I* should win the laptop) 🙂

All of the other entries seem to be “from the heart”, and clearly all the participants have things to say. A lot of energy went into these films. Just as clearly some of the films show a great deal more effort than others. There are some “talking heads”, one camera set-ups, and long single takes. There are a few that are very funny. There is also some serious film-making talent evident, which is why I hesitate to assume that my film will win first place, as great as I believe it to be. And you can never really tell in a contest. Even with the technical difficulties I had, my film-savvy gives me confidence that my entry will make it to the finals, but first place will be seriously contested, that’s certain.

FLUIDweb page design graphic

I did have fun though. Playing around with animation is always interesting. And I managed to slip in my plug for fluid web pages. The web will be much cooler when every site is fluid.

There were some products and websites that I will check out later based on the promos, which I think is a large part of the point of the exercise. Although I would really like to win the laptop. That’d be good. 🙂 Of course some of the sites hold zero interest for me personally, regardless of the promo film. Its been a long time since I watched hockey for instance, so the hockey pool site isn’t someplace I’m likely to go. (Although it would probably be very interesting to my brother-in-law. But then he’s probably a charter member). But that’s how the web works. Lots of contrent, find what you need. Certainly, where there is a Canadian alternative I’d be inclined to select the Canadian site.

I will have to find a better video editing package though, because it is a serious handicap not being able to create HD films. I’ll have to check my other commercial software package.

And if I’m going to be making any more films I certainly need to discover how people close-caption web films. Because my soundtrack was entirely made up of the song “Ridin’ The Canadian Roadway”, as background music, strictly speaking it didn’t need captioning as it was a musical score rather than dialogue, but still, accessibility is an important issue so I want to learn it. Everyone who wants or needs to should be able to access online content.

And of course I want to be able to make my films available for universal viewing. so I have a lot to learn about that yet. That’s the key topic on my updated Lothlaurien Films page. [I’ve updated the main page and the films page to cover my CIRA contest entry.]

I do believe that I did a good job of answering the question:

why .ca?

Fingers crossed!


But it is an unseasonably gorgeous spring day, and the kids have informed me that we’re not done with snow this year, so I’d better get out there with my camera before the white stuff returns. There’s a lot of spring time wildlife to photograph in the wilds of Lothlaurien forest today. Later!

You can watch my video here:

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