Below are some key ideas to help you understand the theme of an exhibition/competition and how you might approach developing an artwork that adequately addresses the theme.
Research Your Theme
The starting point is getting to know your theme. The theme of the 2021 QRAA Awards is ‘Paint the Town’, so we’ll use that as an example. Researching information on connection will help you discover different meanings and interpretations this theme has to offer.
Be sure to research a wide range of resources including, books, online resources and even opinions of the people who surround you on what the saying means to them. Make sure to document ideas that interest you about the theme and later choose which one is right for your concept/idea.
Discover How to Address the Theme
Once you have researched the theme, you will have countless ideas of what the theme is (‘Paint the town’, if thinking of the 2021 QRAA Awards) , but still may have trouble on how you are going to shape your artwork around that idea. Thinking about the information of the theme that you have found, consider the ideas of emotion and feeling, exploration and experimentation, communication and relationships as starting points of the processes you will undergo when making your artwork.
Asking yourself a set of exploratory questions can help to jog your thinking. Do you want your artwork to reflect the theme literally or conceptually? Are there adjacent themes, concepts or ideas which hold your interest? How can your current practice reflect, explore or contrast against the theme?
Plan Your Ideas
Now that you have gone through a thought process, it is time to put your ideas on paper. Make sure to start with a few sketches of what you want to create to get an idea of what it’s going to look like. You can then start to play around with the type of media, colours and tones, size and proportions of your creation. The planning process also helps you add or subtract from your idea if necessary. Once you are happy with a sketch and scheme, you can start producing your artwork.