Presenting Yourself - Kerry McCall


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Presenting Yourself - Kerry McCall

  1. 1. VAI Get together 2012 Limerick College of Art and Design Presenting yourself Kerry McCall
  2. 2. Successful people believe theirsuccess is attributable to a pattern ofmutually beneficial interpersonalrelationships, as much as it is due totechnical skills or businessknowledge.This session will look at some keytips that can be applied across avariety of situations.
  3. 3.  mutually beneficial interpersonal relationships ◦ consider these ‘networks’ as much as it is due to technical skills ◦ artistic ability or business knowledge ◦ management, communication, understanding of context
  4. 4.  Common Artist Questions Answered Q: I keep sending my art out to galleries and no one is interested. What am I doing wrong? A: If you send your art to galleries you dont know or who dont know you or who arent familiar with your work, this wont be productive and chances are slim that ever youll get a show. Or if you send your art to out-of-town galleries without first establishing a local or regional profile, this likely wont be productive either. You have to network in your community, target specific galleries, make sure they sell art thats similar to yours, and be able to state clearly and concisely why your art is right for them.  (
  5. 5.  Common Artist Questions Answered Q: Should I invest in a website to show my art? A: Yes, but dont pay a lot for it (unless youre rolling in bucks), and if youre not well known, dont expect to make sales anytime soon after going online. The problem with getting traction for a new site is that people who dont know who you are cant type your name into search engines…….. Best procedure is to design a basic website and combine it with traditional face-to-face networking in your art community. A good starter website should include your statement, bio, resume, images of your work with prices, and how to get in touch with you.  (
  6. 6.  Q: but shouldn’t my art speak for itself? ◦ A: Yes, but only if you make talking art. Otherwise, you have to speak (or write) for it-- contextualize it-- so that viewers can better understand and appreciate what youre doing. ◦ “Its like the difference between watching a play with actors dressed in street clothes on a stage with no set, and then watching the same play with actors in full costume and the stage completely set. ◦ The script is identical in both cases, but your depth of understanding and immersion in the experience is far greater with one than the other.”  ( ability
  7. 7.  Presenting yourself involves Considering what you need to say  ...about yourself  …about your work N.B. Exhibiting opportunities relate directly to where you are in your practiceartistic ability
  8. 8.  Presenting yourself involves  Thinking strategically and building the blocks in relation to presenting yourself and in relation to your practice  Thinking clearly and specifically about the words that you use in articulating your practiceartistic ability
  9. 9. Presenting yourself involvesRESEARCH …Galleries/funders you want to targetIDENTIFY …Which you will approachPLAN …where you want to locate yourselfartistic ability
  10. 10.  Presenting yourself involves Who What Why Where When What is your story?management, communication,understanding context
  11. 11.  Where are you in your Career and What to you want to achieve? „To a large extent you will have to create your own opportunities, but you can only achieve this by truly understanding what your own ambitions for your practice are.‟ ‘Exhibiting with Galleries‟ by Hugh Mulholland,Info Pool, www.visualartists.ieunderstanding context
  12. 12. talking talking How far into listening to someone talking, do you get before you form an opinion? Which speakers stick in your mind? ◦ emulate Do you find spoken presentations more interesting than written ones? What do you think are indicators that your audience‟s attention is starting to wander?communication
  13. 13.  talking art Be clear about the purpose (of whom you are meeting/communicating with) Work out: ◦ the key message- what are your trying to convey ◦ make your answer as clear as possible ◦ what do they already know? ◦ what technical expertise do they have? ◦ what are they thinking about the subject? ◦ who else are they considering? ◦ who are the key opinion formers/decisions makers? ◦ The impression you want to make + leavecommunication
  14. 14.  talking art How will you follow up? Consider the next step Keep the engagement professional Keep communicating Keep providing information, on time and in formats required Eye contact and a relaxed manner are crucial Endeavour to engage and be engaging ◦ Be welcoming- Use a Joke/Expression of Feelingcommunication
  15. 15.  talking art Speak clearly and confidently - this only happens with practice  How do you practice?  You take all the trouble  Is an exercise in persuasioncommunication
  16. 16.  talking art Achieve Clarity ◦ Avoid abstraction + verboseness:  „We‟ll make sure you can hear properly..‟ rather than  „We will give special attention to the provision of adequate sound reception facilities..‟ Best talkers are most natural  Write spoken english  Can use vernacularcommunication
  17. 17.  talking art Avoid technical terms ◦ Unless required/appropriate Use your own words and phrases ◦ Cut out jargon ◦ If you can‟t be understood, that‟s all you will be remembered for Do use adjectives liberally ◦ Develop an interesting narrativecommunication
  18. 18.  Presenting yourself involves Seeing your work as separate to you Positioning your work away from you What does it look like….feel like..  literally and metaphorically Do the words you use correspond with how it lookscommunication
  19. 19.  can you say easily, clearly quickly and confidently: ◦ what you do ◦ how you do it ◦ why you do itcommunication
  20. 20.  If this is difficult… Write down 5 words that you feel about your work. Incorporating: ◦ How it looks ◦ How it makes you feel ◦ Its conceptual nature ◦ Your inspiration(s) ◦ Perhaps materials… ◦ Can you build this into a narrative?communication
  21. 21. Presenting yourself involves Deciding what profile you want to develop around your practice Deciding what narrative you want it to have Developing the language and the lookcommunication
  22. 22. Presenting yourself involves being in control of this information be politic be precise be professionalmanagement
  23. 23.  Consider the presentation of your written work Who is it to?  Find out the specifics  What do they expect in your cover letter? Do consider who will be receiving your document?  Who will be reading it?/Judging it?- Find Out ◦ How will they judge it in light of the criteria set? Do consider others whose opinion will have a bearing on your proposal  The intended audience ◦ e.g. are there community groups involved? Is there an educational angle? Is it the „process‟ or a tangible piece that is important?management
  24. 24.  It is important to have a clear strategy for the promotion of your work  And to identify galleries which are compatible with the development of your practice  Perhaps begin locally or with artists led spaces and then develop into more established galleries  Established galleries have very clear operating policies - researchPresenting yourself- galleries
  25. 25.  Ask for gallery policy and preferred method of submission  Develop a profile-do make yourself known  Network ◦ openings, conferences, questions= public profile  Start locally and build ◦ …less transport costs, easier to develop a profilePresenting yourself- galleries
  26. 26. ‘.. approaching galleries can be an intimidating prospect..’ artists sometimes find themselves not only trying to navigate their way through a complex network of galleries, but also having to second guess the motivation of the individuals running them’  ‘Exhibiting with Galleries‟ by Hugh Mulholland,Info Pool, www.visualartists.iePresenting yourself- galleries
  27. 27.  Funders require an anonymous approach  Letters/application forms  Personal approaches can be viewed as soliciting  Research funder‟s guidelines/criteriaPresenting yourself- funders
  28. 28. Crucial aspects of any proposal?  That it meets the criteria set by commissioning/ awarding/funding body  That it is professionally presented i.e. containing no spelling, proper grammar and is clearly laid out  That it is conceptually relevant, clear and substantialPresenting yourself- proposals
  29. 29.  A clear vision for the presentation of yourself as a professional entity and your artwork is the manifestation of this Consider all as a professional visual, verbal & written packagefinally