On Tuesdays, we watch talks and interviews with artists and discuss how to present our work clearly and with confidence. This week we’ll see an interview that Ann Telnaes, a Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist, gave for Emory University in June 2012. She also drew the cartoon above for The Washington Post on 1/11/18.
As you watch this interview, consider these questions: Does the artist speak clearly and with confidence? Does she use gestures and intonation to emphasize her points? Does she smile and look at the interviewer? What kind of questions does the interviewer ask? Does the artist answer them well?
First, let’s talk about what she does well and what she can improve. In my opinion, there’s really nothing she can improve in this interview. She speaks clearly and her volume is good. Her speed is also good, and she speaks confidently. She looks at the interviewer and smiles and gestures to emphasize her points. She uses good intonation and she doesn’t use too many filler words. She uses professional vocabulary to describe her work, and she stays on the topic of the question.
Next, let’s talk about the kind of questions that were asked. In the first question, the interviewer asks the artist about what inspired her to become an editorial cartoonist. The next question is about how Ann’s Pulitzer Prize award paved the way for other female artists. In the third question, the interviewer asks the artist about the meaning of a specific drawing. The next question is about her style, both her artistic style and the way she tries to convey her message to her viewers. The last question is about her most recent work, animated cartoons, and how they help her share her message.
In her replies, the artist answers the questions in a way that is easy for everyone to understand. Sometimes artists can talk about their work in ways that are not easy for others, especially non-artists, to follow. Ann Telnaes does a good job of telling stories that people can relate to. She uses examples from her own experience that other people are familiar with to draw people in and make her points more strongly.
The types of questions asked in this interview are very typical and should be fairly easy to answer for an artist that has written a good statement about their work and has prepared to present it. In this interview, the artist talks about her artistic career and progression. She talks about her field and her place in it. She talks about the meaning of her work, both generally and in specific examples. She also talks about her style and what makes her work unique.
These are all questions that you will answer in my Amateur Artist’s Course. Even if you don’t think you need to write an artist statement or prepare a presentation of your work, doing so will help you anytime you need to talk about your work, like in an interview. If you would like to be able to talk about your work with confidence, like this artist, check out my online course.
What do you think of this interview? Do you agree with my comments? Do you have questions about the vocabulary? Do you want to suggest a video for me to discuss next week? Leave a comment below!
I’ve chosen 5 words or phrases for you to focus on today. They are in bold. If you don’t know them, look up the meaning, synonyms, antonyms, and other forms of these words. You can find links to Merriam-Webster dictionary sites at the bottom of this page.
To see the original Emory University video from June 14, 2012, click the link below: