Last year the Archibald Prize received over 1000 entries, the Blake Prize over 1200 and the Churchie National Emerging Art Prize, which is only for early career artists, got over 350. That kind of competition can be intimidating but, at a time when there are few traditional career paths in the art world, art prizes can also be useful CV-builders.
Prizes are about much more than the critical recognition of winning. They are also one of the ways artists can show curators, galleries and collectors that they are currently working and pursuing opportunities. (And if you’re going to ask people to support you or your work, you need to show you’re serious about your practice.)