Thursday, January 4, 2007

Me on TV!

Waiting for Winter, 2006, Oil on Panel,24x30

One of my goals for this coming year is to get myself and my work into some art publications. It's not because I want the added attention. I don't really. I would really just prefer to paint and to attend the openings, write my blog and allow that to be the extent of connecting with others. However, I feel like it is time to make a little effort in order to move things along just a bit. It's also a good way to push myself out of my comfort zone. I don't plan to go crazy with this or anything. I will probably just send a few packets out. As much as I admire Alyson Stanfield's advice about artist's promoting themselves, frankly I am not comfortable with doing many of the things that that entails. I have a business card, but wouldn't dream of handing it out to everyone that I meet. I actually don't talk about what I do to everyone. I often enjoy having a conversation that DOESN'T revolve around art, or about what I do. I don't send out postcards or show notices very often, and in fact, I really don't even keep a very good mailing list. I just feel uncomfortable pursuing buyers and generally let the galleries that show my work take care of those things.

However, in an interesting coincidence, yesterday I received a request to participate in a project involving a series of conversations with artists whose work is being shown in the Berkshires. In a moment of blind optimism I agreed to do it. Instead of slipping into a short article in a print format, I am jumping right into the most uncomfortable of all situations for me, a videotaped interview! Holy crap! At least it will be shown only on local public access stations. I felt reluctant to turn it down, because I felt I should support the gallery's efforts, and then as I learned more from the director/interviewer, I decided that I could probably handle it. You know, without vomiting or fainting or otherwise making a fool of myself. It will be just us discussing my work at the gallery. She takes care of all of the technical aspects so there won't be a bunch of people watching or standing around, which makes me feel so much better (I am extremely uncomfortable in front of groups of people, which is one of the reasons I don't teach and why I will probably not do artist lectures. I say probably, because it is always possible that I will change my mind and get over it, but right now, just the thought of public speaking fills me with dread and nausea). Anyway, I am sure that the worrying about it beforehand will be the worst part, well, along with actually seeing and hearing myself on television.

Thanks to the galleries I have worked with, I have had a few chances to do publicity. I have only done one interview, which was for a college newspaper in Ithaca. The writer, a college student who looked like she was about 12, did a good job and even the photograph turned out ok. I've had one review, for the same show (at the Main Street Gallery in Groton, NY), which was published in the Syracuse Post-Standard. And last year I did participate in a gallery talk at The Arts Center in Saratoga Springs where I was in a three person show. I wrote about it here. And about a month ago I turned down an offer to do a radio interview in Concord, New Hampshire. It was partially a scheduling issue, but I also felt really overwhelmed about doing a radio interview at the time.

And so I think this will be fine. The director gave me the ok to wear black (evidently black can wash you out on video) which really helps me feel more comfortable believe it or not. And I am glad to be chipping away at least one of my New Year's resolutions after having a slow start with most of them.

1 through 3, so far and all of the personal ones have been disasters. Heh.


meno said...

That's pretty exciting! I would have trouble doing any self-promotion too.
But about public speaking, i can say from personal experience that it is something you can learn to do. Unfortunately that takes practice, which is agonizing.

Tracy said...

The self-promotion is hard. I do what I am comfortable with and leave the rest to the galleries. Which is why I like to have gallery representation:-)

Technically, I CAN do public speaking, and I know it would be easier if I did it more often. But I don't always feel up to going through that agonizing part you mention! Can't some of us just be on the hermit side?:-)

James Wolanin said...

Congrats Tracy! To ease the pressure a bit, you should ask them to supply you with an outline of the questions that you will be asked. That way you can do your homework a bit and be ready with some answers. I've learned that an interview is an art form in itself. Here's what I learned:

Stay calm, take your time and think about your answers. While you are thinking, don't say umm...

It's showtime!

Tracy said...

Thanks Jim, all very good tips.

I do have a list of the topics she wants to discuss, and they are all things that I usually end up discussing at openings. So I am feeling fairly comfortable about content. Leaving the ums out will be a challenge, and I tend to talk too fast and trip over my words when I am nervous. Or just when I talk in general:-) So I do have to think more and remember to slow down.

Lisa Call said...

How exciting. Very cool to have an outline of the questions. When I did my PBS interview I had no outline and no idea what they might ask me. So I didn't prepare at all. The first few minutes I was really tense but after a while I was able to just ignore the camera (mostly) and just talk to the interviewer, which wasn't too bad.

What fun! Make sure it ends up on YouTube when it's done so we can all see!

Tracy said...

Lisa, You didn't have any idea about the questions for that? Yikes! Sounds awful. Glad you were able to handle that though-I don't think I would have done too well.

I actually might post it on youtube, provided I think it goes ok, and that my hair looks good, of course:-) said...

Hi Tracy ... I do wish you the best of luck with it, and I am sure you will be fine.

I know how you feel about talking in public. I once had to do a presentation at a national nursing convention in UK. I was shaking so much that I kept jigging from one foot to the other and I could barely hold the electronic 'pointer'!!!

But after that I did find I was not quite so terrified, and have at least been able to stand up in front of small groups since.

Never done anything on camera but I think James' advice seems excellent ... probably the trick is to pretend there is no camera there at all if you can.

You will most probably find that you enjoy it. I do hope so.

Tracy said...

Thanks Lesly for the encouragement. A national nursing convention? Good lord! I am impressed.

I think I will do ok. I think the worst part might just be having to see and hear myself onscreen after (they'll give me a video). That is always a bit jarring when you're not used to it.:-)

Anonymous said...

They say people who wear black don't want to be seen, I guess that is why you feel so happy to be wearing black hey!

Good luck with it, you are a braver woman than I am.

Tracy said...

Black makes me look and feel thinner! haha At least that's what I tell myself:-)

June Parrish Cookson said...

All the best to you with the interview and the New Year!

P.S. Love the sky in your last post!

Mom said...

Going on T.V.? How come nobody has told you to "break a leg" ? =)

jrmedia - on painters & painting said...

Hi Tracy, I've been shooting TV interviews as part of my work in media for years and the best advice I can offer is to try and think of this task as a simple 'conversation'. You're essentially talking to one person about what you already know. I'm guessing there will be an interviewer, which means your eye-line is to them, not to the scary camera. Sounds hard but try and pretend the soundman, cameraman, the lights and equipment are not there. Focus on the 'conversation' you're having with the interviewer.
Also, if you feel you're not comfortable with a comment you've made, tell them and start the comment again. The interviewer and editor will respect the edit point and use the correct take. Good luck!! James

Tracy said...

Thanks June, I hope you a have a good new year as well.

Thanks Mom, that's just the kind of luck I need:-)

James, thanks for all of your good advice. I was trying to figure out whether I should or should not look at the camera. Luckily for me, because I may not have agreed to do it otherwise, is there will be no technical people there. So it will be just me and the interviewer, who will be the camera person as well. It is for public access tv, after all:-) And I will remember to treat it as a conversation. I know I can do that at least!

Bob said...

Tracy I feel for you. and know you will be great

Tracy said...

Thanks, Bob. I really appreciate your encouragement!