We want to remind you that there is a gallery talk Thursday, July 28, at the West End Gallery with artist GC Myers, who will be talking about the paintings from his current show at the gallery, Avatars. The talk starts at noon, lasting about an hour and featuring many opportunites to ask questions.
Myers has held a number of gallery talks at the West End over the years, the first being in 1997. Here’s a bit of what he wrote on his blog, RedTree Times, a couple of years back about his talks at the gallery:
I’ve done quite a few of these talks over the years, probably 11 or 12, so I know what to expect. But there’s always a little anxiety anytime you have to speak in front of any group of people.
My gallery talks are always pretty much off the top of my head which, when it works and the audience is receptive and interacting, is good. When it doesn’t work, it’s pretty ugly. A lot of blank stares and awkward silences. Luckily, that’s only happened once or twice.
The first talk I did at the West End was back in 1997 and I had put everything I wanted to get across into a short speech that I wrote out and memorized. Well, the talk began and I reeled off my little speech. It was pretty good until I came to the end of it and glimpsed the clock. It had lasted about 4 minutes and my mind was a totally blank slate.
Tom Gardner, then co-owner of the gallery and a well known painter, had told me a little trick before the talk. He told me to always have a glass of water and when I came to a spot where I was stuck with nothing to say to simply walk back and forth in front of the audience and take a very slow sip of the water. Look thoughtful. I thought it was pretty good advice until I realized I would be pacing back and forth, sipping water, for 56 minutes.
Luckily, Tom rescued me with a question and from there it snowballed with the rest of the crowd asking questions, one subject leading to another. Phew! Over the years I’ve gotten more comfortable with the whole thing and have an assortment of anecdotes to fall back on when things start to falter.
Another reason I don’t go in with a prepared speech is that each group of people is different. Some groups are more interested in talking technique, wanting to know how each piece is painted. What type of paint I use and how I achieve certain aspects in the paintings. That kind of thing. But others are not so interested in the how but in the why. They prefer to hear what the stories are behind the paintings. So, there’s a moment at the beginning of each talk when I have to gauge what approach suits this particular group best. I really try to stay away from the technical side for the most part because sometimes, when I’m droning on about such things, I can see the non-painters’ eyes glazing over. I try to get off the subject as soon as possible when I spot this and try to engage their interest.
It usually goes pretty well and we all have a few laughs. I’m hoping today is no different.
We hope to see you at the gallery Thursday!