The Artist Talk

November 7, 2015


My Professional Practices students are about to present their work to the class- their first artist talks. I have learned a lot about lecturing simply by watching other artists. I have seen many different approaches to speaking and presentation; from the artists who speak with a carefree enthusiasm, to those who take a more academic approach. I try to stress that the best presentations are the ones where the speaker is being themselves- carefree, funny, cerebral, whatever. Authenticity is captivating, the audience is there to learn about you and the work, to be moved and to discover.  

I created a brief list of do’s and don’t’s for my students:


Relax, be yourself

Talk about your influences

Create an outline with the key elements that you would like to discuss

Organize your work chronologically

Find a common thread that ties the work together

Project large images on a clean (black or white) background, the artwork is the star here

List materials if the materials are interesting

PRACTICE, in front of a mirror, a friend, the cat



Use text, the artwork is the star here


Use images of poor quality

Put your work down

Say “the projector is off, the piece is really a darker blue”

Dwell on the negative unless you are able to show how the negative turned into a positive

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