Notes from the Studio

Be Prepared for the Spontaneous Interview

I wish to thank David James Heiss, Staff Writer for the Banning-Beaumont Record Gazette, for his interesting and beautifully written article. He somehow managed to make me sound good. His well-researched article will certainly have an impact on the excitement level at tonight’s "Miniature Art Show" reception at Jack’s Fine Art. 

I was unprepared when Mr. Heiss called to interview me about my paintings. Because of that, I spent much of my time telling him what my work isn’t (it isn't Impressionism.) He persevered and got a little information from me about what my work is about and what motivates me as a painter. After the call was over I realized I had not maximized that opportunity. So I went to my desk and set to work, writing about and defining to myself where I am currently as an artist. Refreshing myself on these talking points will also help me engage with people at upcoming gallery receptions.

Newspapers rarely give you advance notice of their call, and staff writers have varying levels of interest in writing about art. It helps both participants in the interview if you

  • Include relevant key words. I mentioned recently joining the Association of Miniature Artists. Mr. Heiss, intrigued, went to their website, found a goldmine and fleshed out his article with a history of miniature art.
  • Define briefly how you paint. This is what I should have said:  ” I’m a Tonalist: The mood of the painting is more important to me than is the place. I work in the studio and painting from memory allows me to emphasize certain qualities of our local landscape. I apply oil paint in layers creating a tapestry-like surface, balancing tone until it conveys the mood I want.” That is plenty long, and it gives the staff writer points to ask you about if he wants elaboration.
  • Talk briefly about associations to which you belong that are relevant to the interview. I did this right! Mr. Heiss interviewed me about a mini show and I told him I belonged to the Association of Miniature Artists. That is relevant. I did not need to mention membership in OPA and California Art Club because that is less relevant and could have become a distraction from the mini show idea.
  • Stay on topic.
  • Be enthusiastic. Give the staff writer your full attention. You really want to talk to this person who is giving you an opportunity to put your name out there.
  • Thank the staff writer for the interview. Invite him to call back if he has further questions. Write a thank you note.
  • Keep a copy of the article when it is released.
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