Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Call for Entries: ING Discerning Eye 2012

ING Discerning Eye 2012 - Call for Entries 
The ING Discerning Eye Exhibition is created from small artworks selected by two art critics, two artists and two collectors from an open submission and those who have been invited to contribute work.  Last year over 600 pieces were displayed in six small exhibitions at the Mall Galleries.

The Call for Entries for submissions to the ING Discerning Eye Exhibition 2012 has been published.
  • The deadline for entries is 7/8th September in London.
  • Prior to this art can be taken to regional pick-up points around the UK
Below you can find:
  • a commentary on the percentage of work which gets selected from the open submission - and how well this does in terms of sales
  • an overview of the process for entry
  • tips for submitting work

What's your chances of getting accepted?

The bottom line is that the open submission provided less than half of the works on display in the exhibition - but accounted for nearly two thirds (61%) of the sales.

I'm very much of the opinion that the open entry should provide a much high percentage of the works selected for the exhibition. Apart from anything else it looks like it make good business sense.

Of the works on display in the exhibition, the percentage of works from OPEN submission artists in the last three years are as follows
  • In 2008 279 (49%) of the 572 works on display 
  • In 2009 226 (43%) of the 522 works on show
  • In 2010 233 (51%) of the 453 works in the show
  • in 2011 264 (43%) of the 611 works in the show
In relation to sales
  • In 2009, 162 works sold (31% of the works exhibited) of which 92 works (40% of the open submission) related to works by open submission artists.
  • In 2010 113 works sold (25% of the works exhibited) of which 76 works (33% of the open submission) were by open submission artists
  • In 2011 175 works sold (29% of the works exhibited) of which 107 (40% of the open submission) came from the open submission process
Information about how to enter

This is the website of the Discerning Eye Competition and Exhibition.

This art competition is administered by Parker Harris. The ING Discerning Eye Call for Entries Leaflet - provides detailed guidance On their website you can find more details about the exhibition and download the following:
Who can enter?

You are eligible to enter if you are an artist born in or resident in the UK.

Your work can be selected for display in the exhibition:
  • either through submitting work via the open submission (see below for a summary).
  • or by being invited by show work by one of the selectors.  Selectors in the past have varied as to how they have used this privilege. Read on to find out what you have to do 
There is a membership system for artists (costing £45 pa) which includes free submission for up to 6 works. There's no guarantee of selection but the membership fee compares very favourably with the fees charged for submitting six works which will be £60.

For further details and to download entry forms please visit

Works eligible for entry

If you want to see what sort of work gets chosen you can view all the 612 works by 282 artists that were shown in the 2011 exhibition in our The ING Discerning Eye Online Gallery

The basics in relation to eligible artwork are as follows:
  • all works must be for sale (40% commission is charged on all sales)
  • you can enter up to six works
  • all works must be handmade and within the maximum size limit (20" x 20" including frame or plinth/stand)
  • all works must be handmade and an original creation by the artist 
  • drawings, paintings and sculptures are admissable
How to enter
  • all work must be submitted unpacked (ie no support for unpacking/packing) PLUS
    • signed entry schedule must accompany all works
    • submission fees (£10 per work)
    • on the dates in the schedule for different locations
  • final deadline for receipt of entries in London: 8th September 2012. 
  • Works can also be submitted via receiving venues in 15 towns and cities throughout the UK besides London. 
  • A list of those artists selected for exhibition will be on the Parker Harris website from Thursday 13 September 2012
  • all works will be included in the online catalogue - and artists have to supply a suitable digital image if selected. Work not sold in the exhibition will remain on display in the online exhibition until 31 December 2012
  • detailed guidance on requirements for frames is available on the website
  • unselected works to be collected 9-10th September
  • unsold works to be collected 30th November

There are a number of prizes.  in 2012, these are:
  • ING Purchase Prize £5000
  • Discerning Eye Founder’s Purchase Prize (In honour of Michael Reynolds) £2500
  • ING Staff Purchase Prize £1000
  • Discerning Eye Chairman’s Purchase Prize £1000
  • Meynell Fenton Prize £1000
  • Benton Purchase Prize £1000
  • Artspan Purchase Prize £1000
  • Hicks Purchase Prize £1000
  • Humphreys Purchase Prize £750 
  • Lincoln Seligman Purchase Prize £500 
  • Regional Entry Prizes - There will be up to 8 prizes of £250 each awarded to an outstanding entry in the national regions.
Panel of Selectors
The selectors are solely responsible for their own selection; selection is not by committee. The only restrictions are limitation of size (only small works are permitted) and to select at least 25% of their section from the open submission.ING Discerning Eye website
I'm surprised the percentage from the open submission is as low as 25%.  It raises questions such as "Does the open entry subsidise works exhibited by invited artists?"

It's always well worthwhile taking a close look at who the selectors are before submitting work to a competition - it can give you a clue as to whether your type of artwork is likely to be well received. The selectors in 2012 are as follows

The Exhibition

The ING Discerning Eye Exhibition is to be held at The Mall Galleries in London between 15 November - 25 November 2012.  Admission Free.  
  • Around 600 works will be on show in the exhibition. 
  • All selected artists will be invited to a Private View on 15 November 2012.
Tips for Artists

Here are my tips for artists as published last year (see MAKING A MARK: Review: ING Discerning Eye Exhibition 2011

Here are some thoughts for you to consider if you're thinking of maybe submitting to this art competition.
  • It's worth taking a look at who the judges are and what their interests are. If you're a good match it's definitely worth submitting work.
  • Little is beautiful! Those selectors having more works in their display tended to have chosen more smaller works. It's not evident that smaller works are more likely to be selected but logic suggests that larger works might be less likely to be selected unless they are by a "name" or by an invited artist (ie don't assume the large works in the show are mainly from the open entry!).  
  • Think about how your work suits the constraints on dimensions - scale is important. Not everybody who normally works large necessarily suits working small. 
  • It sometimes pays to think about how to change your subject matter so that you can work small in a way which suits you best. 
  • A lot of work is hung in this exhibition and there's not a lot of space in-between artwork. A shrewd judgement needs to be made about much matt and/or frame needs to be allowed to create a space to allow the work to be seen. This then needs to be weighed up without the constraints that spacewise one larger work = two smaller works and there's no way of knowing which way selectors will lean on size.
  • This is an excellent exhibition for printmakers to submit to. Selectors can choose more than one work and prints obviously lend themselves well to multiple sales - as could be see at the private view.
Links to previous posts on this blog about the ING Discerning Eye exhibition in previous years


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