Fun listening to this podcast.
I think competitions and awards have an interesting effect on us all. When we win we feel great. When we lose we wonder what we have done wrong and if we are even wasting our time.
The brief speculation you guys indulged in that there may be a political aspect to the voting is probably true but only to a certain degree.
Winners almost always have produced great work. The fact, however, is that many losers have also produced great work. Take the monthly competition featured on this forum. Great work always rises to the top. But, great work also seems to go unrecognized.
Were the zeroes in the last contest all completely unworthy? The danger is in the discouragement those zeroes left in their wake. The deflated pride of all those who garnered zeroes probably stung pretty bad.
The consolation is in the immense list of those great artists who went unappreciated even while producing magnificent work.
Vincent Van Gogh is revered today. He is considered to be one of the most influential painters of all time. But, his work received little to no recognition during his lifetime.
Paul Gauguin was not appreciated until after his death. Today his paintings could sell for as much as $39.2 million a piece.
Claude Monet is one of the greatest painters of all time. His work was rejected because it went against the traditional style and method of painting of his time.
And the list goes on.
To me, the three of you (Will, Lee, and Jake) are incredibly gifted. The fact that you have allowed your knowledge and guidance to be the gentle hand that offers encouragement and guidance to usher the artists in this forum to their next level of accomplishment deserves an award that far surpasses the honor which the Caldecott bestows upon its recipients.
Perhaps there is no gold medallion or embossed sticker you can put on your mantle or the cover of your next book. Perhaps there is no "bonus" check, no bragging rights, and no red carpet event.
But, somewhere out there, you have extended your hand to a young artist who needs that helping hand. You have given confidence to a fragile soul bursting with talent but unsure how to nurture it. You have given courage to a young student bullied for an interest in art in a world obsessed with touchdowns and home-runs.
I hope you all win those awards that define accomplishment.
But, know that you are already greater than those awards. And your work is as magnificent as those who have won those awards as well as those who walked away with a zero.