Friday, 4 September 2009

It’s time to interview you (or the DIY interview)

You can read my interview on the Swindon Open Studios 2009 blog.

As part of the organising team, I put together a dedicated blog for the coming
Swindon Open Studios 2009. We are more than 60 artists taking part over the week-end of 12th / 13th September.

I though that publishing interviews of participating artists would be a good way to promote the event as well as the artists. The public can learn more about each artist and participants to the event can also do the same. It was certainly very enjoyable for me to learn more about artists leaving in the area.

There are currently 17 interviews posted on the blog. As I am acting as the editor for the blog, I ended-up interviewing myself.

This is a very useful exercise. I did not come with the idea. I remember reading an article by Alyson Stanfield with this suggestion on
Art Biz Blog (I could not find the article, but it is there). Here are some obvious benefits of doing this:

  • It makes you think about you, your art and what makes it special. Therefore, it is a great way to get you started on your artist statement.

  • You do not have to rush. You can write a draft and come back to it as many time as you want.

  • It prepares you for future interviews with journalists, where you may have to answer questions on the spot. If a local radio calls you today, do you have something interesting to tell them?

I used the following interview questions, which are all relevant and general (apart from Question 10 that you can skip) to suit different art disciplines:

Q1 – Could you introduce yourself briefly to the readers?

Q2 - How did you become interested in art?

Q3 - What inspires you most as an artist?

Q4 - What is your favourite medium or media? Why?

Q5 - Could you tell us some more about your work?

Q6 - How would you define your style?

Q7 - What are your influences; artists from the past or present who inspire you?

Q8 - How do you choose the subjects of your works?

Q9- How do you prepare yourself for an exhibition or a show like the Open Studios?

Q10- You took part in the Swindon Open Studios in the past, what did it bring to you?

Q11 - Are there territories (media, subjects, etc.) you want to explore in the coming years?

Q12 - As an artist, what would be your dream?

Q13 - Could you share one thing that you have learnt in your own art practice that would be useful to other artists?

I would suggest that you try to answer these questions without reading the interviews published on the blog (OK, you can read mine if you want to…), so that you are not influenced by what you read.

Only after you have a draft of your own interview, go and read all or some of the 17 interviews published on the
Swindon Open Studios 2009 blog. By asking the same questions to all artists, I have effectively built for you a reference library of answers. I am sure that reading how other artists have answered these questions will give you some new ideas to describe and explain your art.

If you want to take it further, you can start to collect interview questions in art magazines and newspapers and see how you would answer these.

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