Show and Tell: Key Questions for Artists


On April 20, Bleeding Heart Art Space hosted a workshop called SHOW & TELL, with artist and curator Edward Van Vliet. The focus was on key questions like, 'what is your work trying to say and to whom'? From there, Edward walked attendees through the process of showing and communicating about their work. Any artist can benefit from the questions Edward raised. The artist life can be a whirlwind. Often wedged into the nooks and crannies between the 'real' job, family time and social commitments, we can spend all of our time creating our work, without stopping to consider what we are trying to say and to whom. These big 'why' questions are too easily left unanswered, or even unasked.

Edward Van Vliet has graciously shared some guiding questions from that workshop. The questions revolve around three key areas; Artist, Show and Tell.


  • Who are you?
  • What are you doing currently with your art?
  • What are your goals?
  • Why do you make your art?
  • What do you do with it after you’ve made it?
  • How do you keep track of it?


Which places fit your work? As you’re submitting to those opportunities, ask yourself “What do they want?” Consider how you might best represent yourself for that opportunity. Remember: you’re going to be judged.

  • Where do you want people to find your art?
  • How do you get your art in there?
  • What are your options?
  • What do they want?


As you’re looking for opportunities, you will need to ensure that you are able to communicate to others what your work is about.

  • What is your goal with your art?
  • What are you actually exploring with your work?
  • Are you able to articulate that? If not, do you know other artists who can help you do that?
  • If you don’t know what your work is about, you certainly won’t be able to communicate it to others.

The afternoon finished by looking at some of the participants’ work – discussing what might make for a good submission, and what ideas or themes we might highlight in describing their work.

Community is essential for artists who want to grow, so if you are not part of a community of artists where you can find honest, constructive feedback, search one out.

If you want to see the principles of Show & Tell in action, join us for Art In Conversation this Sunday, May 12 with artist David Janzen, whose current exhibit, TRANSFER STATION, runs at the Art Gallery of Alberta until June 16. This community conversation held at 7 PM at The Carrot will revolve around that show, and David Janzen will offer up his insights and answer our questions.

Get more information about Sunday's event here.

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