Art & Design Magazine

Giving an Art Talk, Part 2

By Abstractartbylt @artbylt

Yesterday I talked about the art talks I listened to recently, but I want to point out some of the specific things artists can do to make their talk inspiring and memorable:

EXPRESS PASSION AND ENTHUSIASM:  In the best art talks I heard, the artists were obviously passionate about their art and/or their subject matter.  These artists "fell in love" with an art form, a technique, a particular tool, or the subject they were depicting. 

INFORM AND EDUCATE: In one artist's talk, I learned how a color reduction wood print is made.  I also learned that starlings are an invasive species, and what is wrong with that.  In another talk, I learned how different camera lenses affect a photograph.

DEMONSTRATE THAT YOU ARE SERIOUS AND PROFESSIONAL:  If you are presenting yourself as a student or amateur, this isn't so important.  But if you are expecting your audience to want to purchase your art or at least to respect you as a professional, you need to demonstrate this quality.  One way to do that is by presenting credentials:  education, exhibitions, awards, teaching, etc.  The more well-known you are, the less you have to prove it, of course.

But professionalism can be demonstrated simply in the way you present yourself and your art:  as an artist who is serious and dedicated to her work.  If you take yourself seriously, others will as well.  In two of the art talks I heard, the artists seemed to have fallen almost accidentally into the art form they were making.  Another artist, when asked why two photographs of the same image were composed differently, had not even noticed and had no explanation for it.

Another mistake some artists made was to focus too much on their subject matter, thus neglecting the art itself.  I don't have a subject matter since I make non-representational abstract art, so my challenge is to explain that.  Another story for another day.

It's so easy to be critical when sitting in the audience.  I respect all these artists for attempting to tell their stories, and hope to learn from them how to make my own art talks better in the future.

A new drawing for today:

   2011 Abstract Drawing #15, 11.5" x 9" archival inks on paper.

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