Guest blogger: Gigi Rosenberg
Most artists I know cringe at the thought of doing an artist talk. This is what they tell me:
I’m not a performer!
I’m not a public speaker!
I don’t want to explain what my art is about!
I don’t know what to talk about!
I don’t think it will make sense!
I don’t have anything to wear!
The list of objections goes on and on.
But then they get invited to give an artist talk at a gallery or at the local art school or they realize there might be some benefit to preparing and delivering a formal presentation about their work as an artist.
It's Good For Your Career
After their first talk is over, artists tell me how beneficial it was:
Preparing my talk helped me articulate what I’m doing and it helped me re-write my artist statement.
I had to review all my past work and it made me realize how far I’ve come.
It helped me see that I’m an expert at what I do.
People signed up for my mailing list.
I booked another gig!
Just last week Diane Jacobs, who I coached for her latest artist talk, said in an email, “Writing my talk helped me understand and verbalize my intentions. . . . It feels good to share the background and ideas behind the work.”
When artist Helen Hiebert gave her first talk at a professional conference, she included a request for donations for a short film she wanted to make. So, not only did she leave the conference with her first talk under her belt but she raised $500 for her film.
It may seem like an impossible leap to go from wanting to do a talk to standing in front of the room and claiming your expertise as an artist.
Writing and delivering a kick-ass artist talk is just like anything else you’ve ever learned to do.
Start with small steps that include first thinking about your audience: Who are they? Why are they there? What do you want to invite them to think about, question, or do by the end of your talk?
About Gigi Rosenberg
As a presentation coach, guest blogger Gigi Rosenberg draws on her background in writing, visual art, theater, and corporate communications to teach creative entrepreneurs how to give stellar public presentations.
She is the author of The Artist’s Guide to Grant Writing.