How to Give an Artist Talk, August 2018

Author: Gigi Rosenberg
Publication: Professional Artist
Published: August, 2018
Article PDF: How to Give an Artist Talk

Don’t Be Nervous About Nerves

Judith Modrak

I went from a reluctant, nervous speaker (at best) to fully embracing, not only the opportunity, but the entire experience and the audience as well. Hour-long artist talks swim by in seemingly minutes followed by dynamic question and answer sessions. It really is a case of reprogramming one’s response to what can be a cause for stress into an occasion to reveal one’s body of work and sources of inspiration in more depth. My tips include:

  • It’s fine to be nervous, most people will be a little nervous. Work with the nerves, not against them. Focus on your work and what you love about it and want to say about it.
  • Exercise the day of a big talk or take a walk to collect your thoughts.
  • Be prepared: preparation reduces anxiety.
  • It’s OK to pause and ask for something, for example a glass of water or that the lights be turned down a notch or that the projector’s color be tweaked. All these things make you feel calmer and put you in control of the situation.