Unpaid competitions 
- to participate or not to participate?
​​​​​Recently I took part in a competition. It was the second time in my life that I participated in an unpaid competition (the first time was when I was in college). Why did I decide to do this? There were several factors:

a. a moment earlier, my large-format mural had been completed in Wrocław and I felt that it made business sense for me;
b. The award was significantly higher than the regular remuneration for the mural design (PLN 25,000);
c. I was in the middle of a long, complex and frustrating process of creating illustrations for the book (130 illu!), which no longer brought me satisfaction.

I didn't win the competition, but I took third place, also awarded.
So, is it worth taking part in competitions or not?

It's worth it because:
1. you can potentially earn more than in a regular job;
2. If you win, you gain publicity and potentially new orders;
3. If you win, you gain self-confidence;
4. you create a personal project, according to your own guidelines, based on the brief, and it simply develops you.

It's not worth it because:
1. ⚠ Unpaid competitions are very often exploitative - e.g. developers set prizes below the market rate for the project. ⚠ Remember that by entering competitions that do not offer fair remuneration, you are simply spoiling the market;
2. ✖ Committees often do not include anyone associated with art (e.g. a representative of the city, cooperative, investor, developer, and not someone from the local artistic community);
3. ☑ Internet users vote - the rules here are fluid, the winner is the one who has a better social channel;
4. 😐 If you lose, you lose (unfairly!) confidence.

So how is it finally? Is it worth it or not? It's worth it if:
1. you are a beginner artist and want to test yourself;
2. You don't currently have any orders, you have time and you want to use it creatively;
3. Financial considerations are pushing you against the wall;
4. You see real, non-material benefits - contacts, ideas - that you can achieve through volunteer work.

The competition I took part in was about designing a mural that would tell 500 years of the city's history.

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