So despite my nervous feelings I managed to hold my first artist talk for my recent exhibition. The photo above by Julie Lee shows (from left to right) myself, Angela Fama and our facilitator Katie Huisman. The show consisted of work by myself (paintings of icebergs and portals) and Angela Fama (photos of deliciously aged sign posts) . The talk was held at 4pm so I had the morning so think over the reasons that I create my work in general and some of the themes that reoccured in this exhibition "Cipher Messaging".
Since it was my first time I had no idea what I could expect as far as my own ability to be clear about what I wanted to express. Would anxiety take over as I became flustered and would my mind go blank as I searched for the right words to answer their questions? Would I accidentally miscommunicate my concepts? Luckily I received some good advice the night before that set me at ease, "Just be honest Rebecca!" This seems obvious but I needed to hear it, because the more that I would focus on how to present myself and my ideas about my art, the more I felt that I was losing authenticity. The idea of losing authenticity was what was causing my anxiety. So I did away with any specific plans about the speech I would make and went about my preparation in a more natural way. One method of preparation that I used that has come in handy for me in past interviews was to write a few notes to myself in advance about what I think is truly important in my work and how I have seen certain things evolve in my work over the past few years. I kept it simple. I feel like this exercise of preparation made me feel more solid about what I would try to express no matter what types of questions were asked.
Here is a photo of me taken just after the artist talk - note the happy and relieved expression on my face:
Artist talks are a great way to share directly with people and also to learn about the impact that your art makes. I was surprised by some of the insight I received from the attendees and felt rewarded by all of their contributions. They offered me more vocabulary for one. One of the attendees told me that they felt that my work was transcendent - what a huge compliment! Also, I could see what seemed to "stick with" them as they would ask questions that returned to those topics. All in all it was a great experience. Oh, and I survived! I think that the only way to speak in public is to speak in public. I'm sure it gets easier with repetition!