My Artist Talk: A Revelation

Well, the opening reception for the 2024 Emerging Artists has come and gone. It was an amazing and thrilling evening. Hundreds of people came out, many of whom I know and call my friends and fellow artists. I can’t say enough about how great it was. And seeing the art and installations of the other grant recipients was so impressive! What an incredible group of talented artists! It was inspiring!

Now, a week later, I was the first of the grant recipients to deliver an “artist talk” at the Gallery at Creative Pinellas. Some of my friends came to support me, which I truly appreciated. I was pretty nervous, much like on opening night, because it was new “territory” for me. I haven’t really spoken to an audience before, especially about me! I’m not the bragging kind so talking about myself is kind of weird and uncomfortable. I did bring notes and visual aids to assist me though, and I wore a nice scarf so I could hold onto it if I needed to have something to do with my hands if I got fidgety.

The staff at Creative Pinellas were all tremendously supportive as well, and they sat in on my talk and contributed to it with good questions and insights. Thanks to Beth and the crew for making it fun for me and the other attendees! Beth introduced me by stating that I was the “guinea pig” since I was the first speaker for the series of talks being given by the grantees. It helps to keep things light.

Anyway, so I got up there and I’m talking about my paintings. I’m going into depth as to my thinking process, my painting process and what the metaphor of my paintings was/is all about. I talked about what the color scheme represented and what the various objects represented, and how it all flowed together, one painting to the next of the series. At one point, I forgot an important aspect regarding one of the paintings – a really important point! But then I remembered and excitedly told the audience. I was close to being done with my talk and realized how that one piece of information really brought much of the talk together. It really made the audience realize what it was that I was trying to accomplish. That was super validating to see the spark of understanding come into their eyes.

And the questions asked were so insightful. I really got to see my artwork from the perspective of the viewer rather than from within my own personal artistic universe. It was so cool! It’s funny but I’m always asked how long it takes me to do a painting from start to finish. And people also want to understand how the painting process works. These were key questions to answer for them. Where, for me, the finished product is the important thing, for the viewer, the entire process is of value.

With this experience I had some revelations. First, that people want to gain some knowledge of and understand what a painting or work of art is about. What does it mean? What does it communicate? They want to interact with it. In other words, it has to speak to them. Wow, that’s great! Additionally, it would have to communicate to them in an aesthetic and uplifting way. And if the art is appealing to them, they want to know all about it, from its first conception to final completed work.

For me, as the artist, that is a tremendous validation of my efforts. I can realize a great sense of accomplishment and exhilaration just knowing that I’ve brought the viewer of my art to that level of enjoyment. It really is what I work for and is my purpose as an artist.

Thank you again to Creative Pinellas for giving me this extraordinary opportunity to grow in my profession. It has been one of the greatest honors of my career.

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