The three jurors for the Emerging Artist Award — Cindi Strauss, curator of Modern and Contemporary Decorative Arts and Design at The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Ron Porter, long-standing member of AJF and a collector of contemporary jewelry; and Andrea Janosik, jewelry artist and recipient of the AJF’s 2007 Award, reflect on the process of choosing this years awardee.
Cindi Strauss : Jurying the AJF Emerging Artist Award was a great pleasure this year. It was both invigorating and challenging as the quality and number of outstanding entries confirmed what we all know about jewelry today – there is amazing work being made by young artists all over the world. The new CAFE submission system was straightforward and allowed for a wide range of images and information to be at juror’s fingertips.
Ron Porter: I had always wanted to try my hand at jurying, so I jumped at the chance to be one of three jurors for this year’s AJF Emerging Artist Award. The experience was exhilarating, but exhausting. The seventy-nine entrants challenged our concepts of jewelry and adornment in provocative ways; unique materials, bold concepts, and consistent vision. Our winner exemplified the best in new art jewelry, so it was a thrill to be able to praise her work and welcome her to the roster of distinguished AJF Emerging Artists.
Andrea Janosik: It was the first time I was asked to be on a jury – I spend a lot of my time critiquing my own work, but haven’t applied that thought process to other artists’ jewelry since I finished school – in that sense it felt very academic. Seeing that Cindi and Ron’s final choices coincided with mine made me feel confident that we had the same criteria. The initial impression was based on whether or not something captured my interest – there were a lot of entries and so many pictures to look at, but only some intrigued me visually, made me want to look closer, in a way ‘discover’ – although so many impressed with their technical skills.
Originality is hard to define, especially with words. I think it has to do with one’s personality, history and experience. I recognized many great pieces exhibited at shows, and some in print, but it made a big difference when they were presented in a group. Now they were viewed as a series of steps and actions. I looked at how one idea got to be more or less varied and explored. What I felt most groups lacked was seeing one idea continuously develop from it into another, one idea inspiring a new one without repeating itself. It was a pleasure and quite an experience – I am very happy to have had this opportunity.