Thursday, November 07, 2019

Call for Entries: BP Portrait Award (Part2) - How to Enter

This post is about 
Key info is highlighted in red.

Selected portraits for the 2019 Exhibition
- the winning entry is on the right
Yesterday, in Part 1, I wrote about the key things you need to think about when considering an entry to this competition.

I recommend that you READ THESE POSTS before submitting an entry
The GOOD NEWS is that the works exhibited in the Porter Gallery for the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Award (which I saw yesterday at the press preview) are all at head height.  

I was advised that the gallery has listened to the comments they received about the hang of the BP Portrait Award 2019 exhibition and additional display walls have been introduced to provide the extra space needed to provide a decent exhibition.

My reservation is that the corridors they create are narrow and I anticipate the complaint in 2020 will be that you cannot get far enough away from the painting to look at it properly. The corridor at the back is particularly narrow.

New display boards in the Porter Gallery
(for the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Award)

BP Portrait Award 2020: What are the major changes?

Oh dear! 
The Official Document about the Entry and Judging Process

There really is NO EXCUSE for misleading people who to enter the competition!

Major Change for BPA2020 #1: Deadline for Entries is 11 December 2019

The first major change is that the deadline is 6 weeks earlier than last year - i.e. 11th December 2019  and nearly two months earlier than it has been in the past - with absolutely no prior warning.
Or as one person put it on Facebook...

BP portrait award 2020...closing entry date is 11th December 2019!!!!!!!!!??😳😱

It's rather more instructive that so few people have picked this up because there are almost no comments about it on Facebook of Twitter.

I reckon that's because momentum to think about submitting an entry usually only gets underway in December.  Some think about planning to get their work finished in time while others start thinking about starting so they can get it finished over Christmas and get the digital entry sorted without the oil looking wet before the end of January!

The crucial aspect for portrait painters who use oils is drying times. Not to mention those who are routinely painting right up to the last minute!

So I think the notion of having something else to do over the Christmas New Year period is just beginning to dawn on a few portrait artists. Or maybe more than a few?

I gather the issue has arisen due to the fact that a decision to close the entire gallery has only been taken relatively recently. Hence the lack of notice.

Major Change for BPA2020 #2: A Much Shorter and Earlier Exhibition

EVERY Introduction Page to the BP Portrait Award microsite that I have ever seen has included the dates of the Exhibition

Except the one for 2020.

I conclude the reason is because:
  • the dates and length of the exhibition have changed. 
  • when the Call For Entries was published last week the NPG had still not announced that the National Portrait Gallery will close for three years as of the end of June 2020.
  • Instead of it being a three month exhibition between June and September, 
  • it's now going to become a five week exhibition ONLY between May and June.
The net result of this is much less exposure than hitherto and probably fewer visitors to the exhibition.

Or alternatively the same number of visitors in a shorter space of time - which will make viewing unpleasant.

Hopefully it will be counterbalanced by longer displays at more provincial galleries - but there's no indication of that at present.

BP Portrait Award 2020:
How to enter for those who don't like lots of small print

First read this paragraph from the website - and then reflect on whether you are sending your very best work.
The BP Portrait Award 2019 received 2,538 entries from 84 countries. Judged anonymously, 44 portraits were selected for the exhibition.

The basics - on the website

Full competition rules and guidance for digital submission can be found online. The NPG website contains:

Who can enter

To enter you MUST:
  • be aged 18 years or over as of 1 January 2019
  • 30 years of age or under as of 1 January 2020 - to be eligible for the Young Artist Award
You can live anywhere in the world. Around half of those entering the competition come from non-UK countries. Last year it was more than half.

Artists should be aware that all works are judged on an equal and anonymous basis and that there is no segregated judging by region or country.

What sort of portrait you can enter

I've already seen tweets by people announcing the portrait they intend to submit who very clearly have not bothered to read the rules. 
  • They didn't get in the last exhibition (or even long listed) and they won't be selected in 2020 either.
  • For example I can assure all those who love painting portraits of celebrities - done from photos they have not taken - that these will never ever see the light of day
  • That's because you MUST indicate on the form whether or not you have met the sitter. 
  • The sitter can't be anonymous - you need to provide their name.

The Portrait Painting

  • SHOULD be a painting based on a sitting or study FROM LIFE - AND the human figure MUST predominate. This is precisely what it says in the rules - and so again...
The work entered should be a painting based on a sitting or study from life and the human figure must predominate.
  • MUST NOT be signed on the front. All entries must be anonymous for the purposes of judging. Consequently the judges will reject a work if they decide that this rule has been compromised.
  • No resubmissions - despite the fact selectors change each year there is no scope to resubmit a portrait. Not least because it cannot comply with the rule about when the portrait was completed (see below)
  • must be recent i.e. completed AFTER 1 January 2019. You are REQUIRED to indicate:
    • the date of the first sitting
    • the date the portrait was completed (Bear in mind that people - like me - will tell the organisers if they've seen a portrait exhibited - in person or online - prior to 1 January 2017! So don't resurrect an old portrait and give it a few tweaks and then enter it....)
    • the stated date of first sitting should be before the stated date of completion.....a date of completion should be entered, even if it is prospective only
  • The portrait can be a self portrait or a group portrait
This year it's very odd as the rules have been edited for the different circumstances - for example
Works selected for exhibition cannot be removed before the end of the exhibition tour. All exhibited works will be available for collection in London at the end of the tour.
Except there is no indication whatsoever of a tour or venues or dates!

Media and Size:

  • MUST be predominantly painted in oil, tempera or acrylic (or a mix of these media)
  • MUST be on a stretcher or board, preferably framed and unglazed.
The work entered must be predominantly painted in oil, tempera or acrylic and must be on a stretcher or board, preferably framed and unglazed. No watercolours, works on paper or pastels will be considered.
  • Image dimensions are METRIC. Works smaller or larger than the defined dimensions will not be considered or accepted. Portraits MUST be
Minimum size: 25cm x 20cm unframed.  
Maximum size: 244cm x 244cm framed. 
  • Multi-part portraits - up to three parts - must comply with the size constraints for one work when installed and must come with complete instructions for installation.

How to Enter

Digital Entry - Image and Fees

It's simple! You can submit your digital entry between now and the deadline (11 December 2019). 

This is the digital entry form. You must
  • agree to the terms and conditions (the form does not open up until you do!)
  • upload the best possible photograph of your finished painting to the BP Portrait Award website
    • Note the requirements in terms of file size and format (see below)
    • Download and read helpful pdf document about how to photograph your work.
    • Make sure you generate the best possible image of your portrait. 
    • Note that you can also submit an optional additional image of a detail of your work - I'd recommend you do this.
Extract from the Digital Entry Form
  • Complete the form - making sure you complete all items with a red asterisk *
  • Pay the fee of £40 online

International submissions

There's a whole raft of requirements for those who are submitting their portraits for the second round of judging from outside the UK which relate to:
  • payment of transport to the judging venue (the NPG does not pay ANYTHING!)
  • the artist's responsibility for the artwork clearing customs and all and any necessary duty and tariffs being paid
  • the artist needing to liaise with the courier re whether portraits have been delivered
  • repackaging the work when it is to be returned

The Judges

The Judges this year have not yet been announced. This happened last year as well. 

Personally I think it entirely disrespectful and unfair to artists to not announce the Judges at the same time as the call for entries.

Artists are not stupid. They know that some judges prefer certain styles. Entering is an expensive business - and artists are entitled to all relevant information before they enter.

The Prizes

  • First Prize: A cash award of £35,000, plus, at the judges’ discretion, a commission worth £7,000, to be agreed between the National Portrait Gallery and the artist.
  • Second Prize: £12,000
  • Third Prize: £10,000
  • BP Young Artist Award: £9,000 (All entrants aged between 18 and 30 will automatically be considered for both the BP Young Artist Award and the BP Portrait Award, but an individual cannot win both.)
  • BP Travel Award 2020: £8,000

My Blog Posts about Previous BP Portrait Exhibitions

The exhibition review blog posts below contains lots of views of the exhibition in the galleries where they were held plus images of portraits (and the artist who had painted them) in the exhibitions.

BP Portrait Award 2019

BP Portrait Award 2018

BP Portrait Award 2017

BP Portrait Award 2016

BP Portrait Award 2015

BP Portrait Award 2014

BP Portrait Award 2013

BP Portrait Award 2012

BP Portrait Award 2011

BP Portrait Award 2010

BP Portrait Award 2009

BP Portrait Award 2008

BP Portrait Award 2007