This week we are delighted to welcome Gita Joshi to the expert judging panel for the Jackson’s Painting Prize 2021. Gita is an independent curator, an award winning art dealer, author and artist coach. She is also the host of The Curator’s Salon – a podcast and website focussing on the art world with advice for early and mid career artists. Here, she gives us some insight into her artist coaching, her favourite artworks and shares her thoughts on the competition this year.
Above image: Her Widening Gyre, 2011, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Charcoal, acrylic, collage and Xerox transfers on paper, 1.8 x 1.3 m | 6 x 4.5 ft.
Clare: How have the events of this year affected your work? What has changed for you in your approach to work?
Gita: Typically I get to travel to see art and of course that was not possible this year. I look forward to visiting Venice, Basel and Miami next year! For me 2020 has been a good year being able to connect with artists online and support them during a time when there are not so many opportunities to show in real life. I published my book Show Your Art in April and a large part of the book focusses on building audiences ahead of exhibiting. This is something that really resonates with artists who are ready to step in to their own authority without waiting to be selected by galleries. So 2020 has meant that more artists realised that this was their way forward and leaned into developing their practice and business. My work has changed this year as I leaned more into artist coaching and was able to do this work online. I also had a virtual exhibition in April 2020 called Covenant – a solo show of drawings by Patrick Morales-Lee. I hope to do more of that again next year.
Clare: Through your art coaching, what have you learned to be the biggest challenges facing artists today?
Gita: The traditional idea that you need a gallery to be recognised as an artist is being challenged by more artists and they are ready to be their own best advocate. However one of the biggest challenges is the idea still holds strong. It has been taught and passed down the ages and accepted as the norm. As such this can affect an artists own self confidence in putting their work into the public domain. I’d like artists to show up with more confidence and self belief in their work. 2020 has levelled the playing field in many ways and shown us that artists can sell art with and without galleries if they show up for themselves first.
Clare: Can you tell us about your favourite artworks in your personal collection?
Gita: I have a Dexter Dalwood print which draws me in each time I look at it from the blackness of the ink and way it leads the eye. Another favourite is a Joe Webb collage called Antares and Love X. I’ve a growing collection and currently I have counted about 8 unframed works. I don’t identify with the term collector. It makes me think of hoarders, but that is the art world vernacular.
Clare: Which three artists, dead or alive, would you invite to a dinner party and why?
Gita: I’m fascinated by Ben Nicholson’s white relief paintings so I guess he should have a seat at the table. Amoako Boafa‘s paintings are captivating, in 2019 I was able to see his show at the Rubell in Miami. Njideka Akunyili Crosby – I’m a big fan of collage and her work is exquisite and full of narrative. In real life it is surprisingly huge. I bought hers from the Solidarity2020 campaign in the spring. And her work at Venice Biennale last year was stunning.
Clare: How important do you think awards and competitions are for artists today?
Gita: Hugely important. I think they always have been. They really serve to raise an artists visibility and they get to level up in their peer group. Also, I think being longlisted or shortlisted, even if you don’t actually win, is a really great experience and it’s still something you can use to grow your network and exposure through social media. Awards and competitions also help artists to feel empowered by showing them that there are other people recognising what they are doing.
Clare: What will you be looking for in the entries submitted to the competition this year?
Gita: Work that is resolved and has integrity and authenticity. It’s fine to be referencing other artists or having influences but I’ll be looking for work where the artist has found their own visual language and an understanding of the medium that can show me some sort of level of experience. I recognise that Jackson’s Painting Prize is a really well regarded competition, so I’m really excited about seeing what comes in.
Clare: Do you have any advice for artists out there thinking about entering Jackson’s Painting Prize this year?
Gita: Yeah, do it! This year has been challenging for alot of artists so whether its the first or the tenth painting prize you’re entering, it’s still a really important thing to do. I think a lot of artists actually learn through the application process by honing down whatever you need for the submission itself, like, images or artist statement. So the process is great experience and you should just go for it because you can’t be longlisted, shortlisted or even win if you don’t submit your work.
Clare: What can you tell us about your upcoming projects?
Gita: I have just released my Artpreneur Cards which is a deck of affirmations for artpreneurs (artist in business). They are to remind them that they are worth it, they deserve to make an income from their work and to show up for themselves to be recognised by others. I’ve got a Mindset for Artists Success program starting in January that runs for six weeks, so that’s very much about helping artists get out of their own way and get clarity, confidence and those sorts of things. I also have another program starting in January which is called Artists in Business Group Coaching which is really art business foundations for artists who are self representing, typically for artists who are in the first few years of selling their work.
Website: The Curator’s Salon
Submissions for Jackson’s Painting Prize 2021 are now open. Find out everything you need to know at our competition website and sign up to our competition newsletter and receive the latest updates about Jackson’s Painting Prize.