How often do you get to talk about what you really love to do to an audience that is truly interested? This is why I really enjoy artist talks. I have done quite a few of them over the last few years. My talks have been to arts organization with painting demonstrations, at gallery openings or at gallery events and for groups that are connected to a museum that focuses on art.
Generally, I am not nervous because the subject matter is what I know well. Speaking honestly about my work and my life is easy. The audiences tend to be very nice and complimentary.
Here are a few tips on what to discuss if you are asked to do an artist talk:
• Making a brief outline is helpful just in case I have a moment where I am not sure I covered everything.
• Talk about yourself, education, family, how you started making art, etc.
I usually start my talks with a brief description of my background. For example, I am married and have three children, went to law school and practiced law for a while before becoming a full-time mom and then pursuing my art career.
I have been painting more than 20 years. I usually tell the story about what made me start to paint: I was in Mexico with my husband and we were in an art gallery looking at art, when I felt to myself, I feel that, I want to do that. That was when I started to take an art class at my local museum art school. From the first class, I was very excited about the creative process. People are always very interested in how you found this passion you love.
• Discuss your process and what it is that you do specifically art wise. Depending on which type of group you are talking to, this part may be a bit brief.
If I am talking to an art group and doing a demonstration, this part is more detailed. However, if it is at a gallery or at a group that has an art interest, I talk about this part more briefly and let them ask questions about it if they have an interest.
• Discuss questions that people tend to ask you about your art.
I have a list of questions people tend to ask me about my work at previous artist talks or at openings.
Here are some of those questions….
How long does it take you to paint a painting?
What is your daily routine?
Do you plan ahead what you are going to paint?
How do you choose your palette?
How many paintings do you paint in a year?
Why did you choose abstract expressionism?
I finish up my talks with an offer to answer any questions.
At my last artist talk a couple weeks ago, I made a slideshow of what I have been up to in the last few years. It was at the Boca Raton Museum. I did not have any work with me, so I thought this would help them visualize. They seemed to really enjoy it, so I plan to use this again.
Here’s the slideshow on YouTube:
Share you experience with artist talks and any tips you may have in the comments below. Thanks and happy creating!