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The Best Way To Prepare For An Artist Talk
There will be times during your art career when you will have to give an artist talk.
Just thinking about doing a presentation can give artists anxiety.
The good news is that there are some tips I am going to talk about that will alleviate some of the stress associated with public speaking and help you to prepare for the event.
- The Best Way To Prepare For An Artist Talk
- What Is An Art Talk
- How Long Should An Art Talk Be
- How To Prepare For An Art Talk
- Write Your Script
- Writing Your Story
- Practice Your Art Talk
- Prepare For Questions
- Write Bullet Points For The Art Talk
- Look Professional
- Make A List Of Things For The Presentation
- Make Handouts
- Engage With Your Audience After The Presentation
- Take Notes After The Artist Talk
- Final Thoughts On How To Prepare For An Artist Talk
What Is An Art Talk
An artist talk is a presentation that provides information about artwork or information about the artist to an audience.
An artist talk could be:
- Public presentation
- Proposal speech
- Gallery showing
- Open studio
- Art fair
At first, you might find it challenging to talk in front of a group of people, but the more prepared you are, the easier the process will be.
Many obstacles associated with presentations can be avoided by writing a script and rehearsing the script.
After doing a few presentations, you will start to feel confident and know what to expect.
Some of the anxiety people receive is not knowing what to expect. Some of the an
How Long Should An Art Talk Be
The length of an artist’s talk will vary depending on the event.
For example, you will be required to talk more at a public presentation than at an art fair.
The best strategy is to prepare a unique speech for each type of event.
Try to keep your art talk under 10 minutes for most presentations and allow the rest of the time to answer questions. This strategy will help you to keep the audience’s attention.
Ask the director how long you are expected to speak before going to the event.
You might be required to speak for 10 minutes at one art talk while expected to talk for 30 minutes at another.
How To Prepare For An Art Talk
Do you remember how frightening it was to talk in front of your classroom or at a meeting?
It was still stressful even though you were giving a speech in front of people you knew.
Giving a speech in front of people you don’t know increases the stress level.
However, preparing for the event will make the art talk run smoother and more enjoyable for both you and the audience.
Keep in mind that people attending your art talk, have a great appreciation of your artwork, and are interested in learning more about you as an artist.
They are not going to your event to judge or quiz you.
They are there because they want to know more about the artist behind the artwork they have a passion for.
Let’s go over some ways you can prepare for your next artist talk.
Write Your Script
Knowing what you will be talking about at an art talk will reduce a great deal of stress and even allow you to get a few hours of sleep the night before the event.
Before writing your script, you will want to know:
- How long you will be talking
- What topics you will be covering
- Are you going to allow the group to ask questions
- Are you going to be the only speaker
- Are you required to provide handouts
Write for the time allowed for your presentation.
If your presentation will be thirty minutes and you are going to allow ten minutes to answer questions, you will want to write a twenty-minute speech.
Write your art talk just like you do your art blog posts.
Start by writing down some bullet points you will be covering.
After you have your list of topics, start filling in the details.
- How long you have been a professional artist
- About painting #1
- Artistic Style
- About painting #2
Keep in mind that people learn differently.
Some people like to take notes, and others might learn better if there is a visual.
Try to make your presentation enjoyable for everyone.
For example, for the example above, you will have two paintings on display that you will be talking about, which will please both the verbal learners and the visual learners.
People remember stories more than just plain facts.
A good story will connect the audience with the artwork on a personal level.
It is your job to inform, educate, and make the event memorable.
Try to connect a story behind the theme of the artist talk.
The story could be about what inspired you to create a specific piece or your struggles becoming an artist.
We all have stories behind our art and artistic journey. The most emotional times for us often create the most engaging narratives for our audiences.
Writing Your Story
Writing your story is just like writing the outline of your artist talk.
Start by jotting down keywords that relate to a piece you are talking about:
- What inspired you to create the piece
- Any struggles along the way,
- What motivates you
Write down anything that comes to mind and don’t try to make it perfect at this time.
The objective is to get your ideas down, and then you can start to add in all the details.
Proofread your story when you have finished adding all of the details.
Make the story flow and get rid of any filler words or sentences.
The story should be short, rememberable, to the point and connect the listener to the artwork you are showcasing.
Practice Your Art Talk
Next, you will want to proofread your speech and eliminate any fillers.
You do not want to have each topic be long-winded.
Stick to the point you are trying to make for each topic.
The next step is to practice and time your art talk.
Add more topics or details if you need more time talking or remove some content if you run over.
Practice and time the speech again to see if you are on target.
Continue to do these steps until you have the perfect length for your presentation.
The best way to reduce the anxiety of public speaking is to practice it out loud.
It is one thing to go over your presentation in your head, but it is more productive when you practice the speech aloud.
Ask a family member or a friend to watch your presentation after you have revised it and practiced it out loud a few times.
Do this as many times as you need to until you feel comfortable.
Prepare For Questions
Like I have said earlier, you will want to leave time for questions.
Preparing for the questions that might be asked is as crucial as preparing for your speech.
You do not want to get caught off guard and look like a dear staring at headlights.
Write down all of the questions you think your audience might ask you during the art talk.
Next, you will want to write down the answers to those questions.
Make sure that you have solid answers for the questions being asked.
Ask a friend to read off the questions so you can practice giving the answers.
There are going to be some questions that were asked during the show that you didn’t anticipate.
Write them down so you can practice them for your next presentation.
Limit the number of questions from the audience on the day of the event.
Write Bullet Points For The Art Talk
There will be times when your mind will go blank even if you memorized your speech and have practiced it for a hundred hours.
Having a postcard with bullet points of your key topics will help to spark your memory.
You do not need to write the entire speech.
Just a few one-liners will do the trick if you are well-rehearsed.
If you want people to take you seriously, you will have to look the part.
You do not want to be wearing an old t-shirt and ripped jeans if you will be talking about a painting worth $100,000.00 at a gallery show.
Decide what you will be wearing ahead of time.
You do not want to add extra stress to your day, figuring out what you will be wearing for the event.
Make sure everything is washed and ironed a week prior.
Make A List Of Things For The Presentation
Make a detailed list of everything you will need for the show a couple of weeks before the event.
Every event will be different, give yourself a couple of weeks to add to the list as ideas pop up in your mind.
Don’t forget the little things like:
- Power supplies
- Business cards
- Email signup sheet
- Outdoor tent
- Bullet point list of the presentation
- Extra shirt
Pack everything about a week before the art talk.
You do not want to be scrambling before you have to leave for the show, your mind will be on other things as the time gets closer to your presentation.
Handouts will be different depending on the event.
A handout that consists of the key topics you will be talking about will be appropriate if you are going to talk about operating an art business or your artistic techniques.
A brochure with an image of the art you are showcasing will be more appropriate if you are doing a gallery showing or an art show.
Include information on how they can contact you or visit your artist website.
Engage With Your Audience After The Presentation
Spend some time to walk around the audience and introduce yourself to anyone who wants to stick around.
Make sure that you try to give equal time to everyone, if possible.
There will be times when an encounter will take up a significant amount of time. If it feels like this is happening, excuse yourself and let them know that you will circle back around to finish the conversation.
Take Notes After The Artist Talk
There will be things that went smoothly during the presentation and other things that could have been smoother.
Make a list of everything that worked and a separate list for things that you want to improve.
After a few art talks, you will feel more comfortable, and everything will go like clockwork.
Final Thoughts On How To Prepare For An Artist Talk
Many people find it challenging to talk in front of a group of people staring at them.
However, there are things you can do to make the process easier.
Prepare for your art talk as best as you can.
Write and practice your speech.
Prepare for questions.
Pack everything you need to the art talk ahead of time.
Visit other art talks to get an idea of how they work.
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