Henrietta’s art, above, and below ...
Ever wanted to know what it’s like to be an artist, or what motivates such a career path? Curious about a specific technique or want to know more about the subject or ideas behind a work? Go to an Artist’s Talk …
Usually free and held in conjunction with an artist’s exhibition at the same venue the artist and audience are able to refer directly to the work on display. The best talks are held in a relaxed informal atmosphere where what starts as a talk by the artist develops as a conversation between the artist and audience.
There is often the opportunity to ask the artist questions, which is valuable not only for that person receiving the answer but opens up ideas for thought and discussion that others in the audience, and even the artist, may not have considered.
For the artist it is an important means to find out how people are responding to their work. Are they communicating successfully through that work? Because whatever the subject, whatever the technique, all art is about something … each work unique in that it is that particular artist’s response to that something.
Many public, independent and commercial galleries hold these events. MAC [Moonah Arts Centre] and SAC [Salamanca Arts Centre] in Hobart both actively encourage their artists to do so and these form a regular component of their annual exhibition program.
As a practicing artist myself I have been both the subject and in the audience of these talks, I vastly prefer the latter, but have always found hearing the feedback from audiences to my work beneficial.
It has thrown new light on the work or subject matter and given me new ideas … or let’s be honest, any positive feedback encourages you to keep going, an artist’s life has to be self-sustained and self motivated, that’s not easy.
So go along and listen, you don’t have to ask a question, but if you do be kind to the artist, they are likely to be as nervous about public speaking as you are!