OVAC’s Other Blog

Dear Reader,

This is to make sure you know the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition has another blog we encourage you to follow.

The Oklahoma Art Writing & Curatorial Fellowship gives insight into the art world, looking at the intellectual infrastructure and practical aspects of exhibitions, art publications, and scholarship about artists. The public presentations and blog are especially relevant if you want to be more informed about things like how and why artists find critical success, how contemporary art is seen and distributed, and the professional dialogues in the field.

The blog covers profiles, essays and public panel discussions from the the yearlong program. Through the program, each of the twelve Fellows will produce art writing and exhibition projects in mentorship with art world luminaries, and you can read some of their writings on the blog. The Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition presents the program in partnership with the University of Oklahoma School of Art & Art History and the Oklahoma City Museum of Art. For more background on the program, visit http://www.write-curate-art.org

So, please keep reading here and check out http://write-curate-art.blogspot.com for different topics in art.

Thank you!

Best,
Julia Kirt,
OVAC Executive Director


Cartoon by Sue Clancy, Norman for Art Focus Oklahoma Magazine

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Art Studio Tour: Denny Schmickle

Schmickle received a BS from the College of the Ozarks and an MFA from the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. He is an artist and graphic designer who specializes in hand-printed silkscreen concert posters and artwork that investigates how the two practices interact.
Where you’ve seen it:
His T-shirts are sold at Dwelling Spaces and his posters have been featured in the anthologies Gig Posters, Volume 1 and Dirty Fingernails, as well as in the Price Tower’s recent UK/OK exhibition.
Ask about:
Drawing inspiration from Ladies Home Journal and old photographs of food.
Quotable:
“Collage is important to what I do. Rather than make things, I mine culture for weird images and change the context.  I have this image of a ham that looks so strange out of context.  I’m just waiting for the time when I can turn it into a face.”

Guest Blogger: Sarah Jesse, Bernsen Director of Education and Public Programs at the Philbrook Museum of Art.

Meet 10 artists and see their working spaces and during the Tulsa Art Studio Tour April 10 and 11. http://www.tulsaartstudiotour.org/

Public Speaking: A Few More Ideas to Give you Confidence


When speaking, teaching or presenting:
1. Use plain, simple language, unless in a specialist situation as everyone may not understand. For instance, most people need you to define etching, formalist, non-narrative, or installation (and don’t want to have to ask).

2. Be energetic in delivery, impassive won’t make people interested

        o Non-verbal clues are important too—what do your hands/facial expressions tell?

3. Tell your own story somewhere in the presentation, it is about you and you’re your art (not your art that magically made itself)!
4. Limit your information—you can’t tell everything about yourself and your work, must narrow to pertinent or connected details.



About nerves:
* Once you begin speaking, your anxiety is likely to decrease.

* Your listeners will generally be unaware of your anxiety.

* Having some anxiety is beneficial—energy, gets your brain thinking quickly.
* All people tend to speak more quickly in front of others, take a breath and slow down

* Practice is the best preventative.

* Recognize you’re not alone.
* Realize that people want you to succeed.

Visuals: especially important if your artwork isn’t there.
People think faster than you speak… reinforcing visuals help keep them focused on your message. People speak at 125 words per minute and think at 500 words per minute or more.
-What is needed depends on the audience
-Images must enhance understanding
-Artwork should support what you are saying verbally
-Visuals will increases the audience’s attentiveness
-Help them remember you and your artwork


Dealing with spontaneous speaking: Q & A or off the cuff
-What questions might be raised? Consider in advance what questions you already get regularly, what materials or issues with which you are dealing.
-What do you think the attitude of the audience will be? Friends? Students? Critics?
-Don’t go on and on—simple answers are fine (don’t give another speech)
-You may end up repeating part of your presentation, that’s ok, maybe they didn’t understand or get it the first time
-Don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know”


Most importantly, practice three times as much as you think you need to as you’ll be at least three times as nervous in front of others. Any time I have thought I will not get nervous, after speaking 100+ times in front of audiences), I am wrong.  Even a sleepy class of high schoolers makes me wish I’d prepared much better!


Some of this information was modified from Toastmasters International, a great organization for improving your speaking skills.


Also, see some great ideas about improving your verbal skills (writing too) from Alyson Stanfield of www.ArtBizCoach.com.


OVAC offers the Artist Survival Kit Retreat: “ARTiculate” April 16-18 at Post Oak Lodge in Tulsa. This will improve the participants’ ability to articulate artistic and career concepts, educate others and make public presentations. Led by innovative educator Jane Varmecky, the retreat will include interactive training about adult education techniques and the dynamics of group training. There will also be time to learn from and share with other participants. Learn more at www.ArtistSurvivalKit.org

Public Speaking—Why Me?

So, I realized we’ve been proceeding a bit like you should know why you need to be a good speaker as an artist.  I want to back up a bit and talk about some possible motivations.

Why would an artist be doing public speaking? If you show your artwork in public, you are becoming a PUBLIC person! Speaking well and connecting with varied audience is excellent for marketing and so expanding potential opportunities.  Here are some instances where you might end up needing to speak about yourself and/or your art.

Formal:

>Speaking to a class

>Talking at an exhibition, could be a gallery talk or lecture

>Conferences presentations like Oklahoma Museums Association, Professional Photographers of America, College Art Association

>Accepting an award (woo!)

>Presentations and meetings with potential clients/employers, galleries, etc.

Informal:

 Art openings

 Parties

 Networking events

 Meeting someone new through friends

There are many reasons for giving a presentation and you should consider carefully what you are trying to do with your talk. For instance:

  • to inform
  • to educate
  • to entertain
  • to inspire
  • to convince

-Consider, why am I doing this presentation, i.e. What is my purpose? Who is my audience?
-Develop a plan and the content for the presentation based on the purpose and audience.


OVAC offers the Artist Survival Kit Retreat: “ARTiculate” April 16-18 at Post Oak Lodge in Tulsa. This will improve the participants’ ability to articulate artistic and career concepts, educate others and make public presentations. Led by innovative educator Jane Varmecky, the retreat will include interactive training about adult education techniques and the dynamics of group training. There will also be time to learn from and share with other participants. Learn more at www.ArtistSurvivalKit.org 

Art Studio Tour: Chris Mantle

Mantle grew up in Louisiana and moved to Tulsa in 2004. He has been making art for as long as he can remember and is best known for paintings and ink drawings, as well as his stream-of-consciousness-style musical performances.
Where you’ve seen it:
Cherry Street Coffee House, Eclipse, Shades of Brown, and Self Gallery.
Ask about:
His book collection, studying chemical engineering as a hobby, and his plan to save the world.
Quotable:
“50% of me is music and 50% is art. I’ve found a way to combine my interest in both by performing music and spoken word pieces inspired by the art I create.”
Guest Blogger: Sarah Jesse, Bernsen Director of Education and Public Programs at the Philbrook Museum of Art.

Meet 10 artists and see their working spaces and during the Tulsa Art Studio Tour April 10 and 11. http://www.tulsaartstudiotour.org/


Put Away those Public Speaking Fears: Pt 2

In an earlier post, Elizabeth Downing gave some background and ideas for making through public presentations. She’s an example of good planning as she comes ready to present. In one of her most crafty moves, she had a small print (with her contact info on it) under each seat in the theatre during her talk as a part of the PhotoSlam at the OKC Museum of Art a few years ago. I assure you, everyone remembered her and she didn’t appear nervous at all!

Here’s her super short top 10 tips for making the most of public speaking.

1. This isn’t easy. Accept it as such. But it gets better and easier each time you do it.

2. Force yourself to look forward to this. Imagine you’re in a room full of people who love you and want to see you succeed.

3. If making eye contact is hard for you, pick a few people in the crowd and talk to them.

4. Do not read directly from notes (or PowerPoint). There is no better way to bore an audience. Use your notes or slides as a starting point only.

5. Make them laugh or identify with you right off the bat.

6. Embrace and reflect your confidence – it doesn’t have to be confidence in yourself, it could be your belief in the strength of your work. A conversational tone helps.

7. The more audience participation, the better.

8. Use any help you can get. Seed the audience with your friends or family. Wear your lucky charm, your favorite ring, or the pair of pants you know you look great in.

9. Offer yourself a reward for making it through – your favorite cocktail, a shopping spree, a piece of tiramisu, or a visit to the art supply store.

10. Remember that, for good or for bad, this experience can provide some great material for your next artwork.

OVAC offers an Artist Survival Kit Retreat: “ARTiculate” April 16-18 at Post Oak Lodge in Tulsa. This will improve their ability to articulate artistic and career concepts, educate others and make public presentations. Led by innovative educator Jane Varmecky, the retreat will include interactive training about adult education techniques and the dynamics of group training. There will also be time to learn from and share with other participants. Learn more at www.ArtistSurvivalKit.org

Put Away those Public Speaking Fears

The prospect of a public speaking presentation is enough to make anyone’s palms sweat (admit it, you just shuddered a little even thinking about it). It doesn’t even have to be a large event – for some artists, talking to people they don’t know about their art is a dreadful part of gallery openings. Your mom told you not to talk to strangers and for many of us, the lesson has stuck well into adulthood.

It doesn’t have to be as awful as we make it out to be. As a cripplingly shy child, I spent most of my teenage and early adult years studiously following the aforementioned motherly advice. So if I can talk myself out of the corner and in front of the microphone, you can too.

So let’s say that you’ve had a moment of insanity and signed up to present something about your art in front of an audience, podium and everything. In reality, the buildup is far worse than the actual presentation. Once, I found myself so relieved to be onstage just to have it over with, I knew there had to be a better way to go about this. You would be amazed if you actually listen to what your mind is telling you in advance of such an event – it’s a mean, nasty little devil that should be quieted immediately.

So the next time I gave a speech, I parried back at the unhelpful “you can’t do that” and “they’re going to laugh you off the stage” with a few simple thoughts: first, I forced myself to look forward to the presentation. I imagined that the audience was full of people who already liked me, were already interested in what I was going to say, and who were genuinely fans of my art. Of course, that wasn’t necessarily the case, but it was remarkable how easily repeating “this is going to be ok, it might even be fun” chased away that little demon. It’s a less distracting variation of picturing your audience naked.
Second, I realized how eager audiences are to reflect. They’re essentially blank canvases, and they are looking to you to set the tone. I know, a little bit of that terror just crept back into your mind – holy cow, how could I ever take on that kind of responsibility? But once you realize that this is a pivotal part of your speech, even more important that what you’re actually talking about, you can start to craft a way to walk, speak, and present that appropriately mirrors your style. Look to your artwork to help you with this, because for most of us, it’s a place of remarkable connection and peace.

Third, preparation is key (but don’t let the demons back in). Imagine that you’re a speechwriter for a friend, your twin, or your alter ego. You want to equip them with enough notes, outlines, or even a fully written speech to do the best job they can. It can be easy to over think and get yourself worked up about how awful the presentation is going to be, which is why it’s good to believe that it’s for someone else.

And last, recognize that it’s not the end of the world. It might be embarrassing, but a very wise woman once said that if you’re not embarrassed 30% of the time, you’re not putting yourself out there enough. Promise yourself a big reward when you’re done and dive in – even if it’s really bad, you can use those feelings to create some incredible art once it’s over.

Guest Blogger: Elizabeth Downing, Writer and OVAC Board Member

OVAC offers an Artist Survival Kit Retreat: “ARTiculate” April 16-18 at Post Oak Lodge in Tulsa. This will improve their ability to articulate artistic and career concepts, educate others and make public presentations. Led by innovative educator Jane Varmecky, the retreat will include interactive training about adult education techniques and the dynamics of group training. There will also be time to learn from and share with other participants. Learn more at www.ArtistSurvivalKit.org