On Tuesdays, we watch talks or interviews with artists and designers and discuss how to present our work clearly and with confidence. This week we’ll watch the 2014 World Doodle Art Champion, Santanu Hazarika, explain his drawing Inclusion.
As you watch this interview, consider these questions: Does the artist speak clearly and with confidence? Does he use gestures and intonation to emphasize his points? Does he smile and look at the camera? Does he use professional vocabulary?
What does Hazarika do well? He speaks clearly, and his volume and speed are good. His posture is confident, and he gestures frequently to emphasize his points. He also points to the drawing as he explains it, which is helpful, and his vocal variety is good.
What could he improve? Although he does some things well, there are many things this artist could do to improve his speaking skills. He moves his feet a lot while he’s speaking and frequently looks away from the camera. Both of these habits give the feeling that he is nervous, or lacks confidence. He also frequently uses filler words, like um, and his sentences are not always easy to follow. It gives me the feeling that he is either unprepared or nervous because people often forget what they are saying when they’re nervous.
What professional vocabulary does he use? Since the subject of this drawing is Vishnuism, there are some terms that the audience may not know. He begins by introducing his drawing, Inclusion, and the contest he was entered in – The World Doodle Art Championship. Next, he explains that it’s based on the book The Seven Secrets of Vishu, by Devdutt Pattanaik, and then he begins to explain the parts of the artwork and how they connect to the philosophy of Vishnuism. Vishnuism is one of the major traditions within Hinduism and focuses on Lord Vishnu.
In the bottom of the artwork, he says there is a lot of scientific stuff, as a metaphor for the human love of certainty. A metaphor is a word or phrase that is used to refer to another thing in order to show that they are similar. He says that humans want to be certain of the things around themselves, and they do that using science. He feels that human development is measured by scientific advancement. Moving up from this, we see a human figure in a meditation pose, which he says encompasses, or includes, the entire universe. This concept of one person being the whole universe is where he gets the title, Inclusion.
Next, we see the figure’s third eye, which some religions see as the gateway to higher consciousness or understanding. Then his head “sprouts up,” which means it grows in a way that looks like a plant. Here we see animal figures, like a six-headed snake, which is what Lord Vishnu sleeps on. This snake represents 1, 0, and infinity, which he says is somehow related to time coordinates. We also see many other animals near the top, like a rabbit, a goat, a whale, etc., representing nature. He says that nature is above everything to remind us that it prevails over everything else below it.
At the very top, we see something that looks like a bird, surrounded by four lotuses (a kind of flower) which represents the four heads of Brahma and illumination. (Brahma is another Hindu god.) Below that is an owl that symbolizes wisdom and many other creatures that symbolize a mixture of concepts. To symbolize something means we use an image, or symbol, to represent a concept. Finally, he says the drawing is an amalgamation of cryptic symbolism. An amalgamation is when you put different things together in a group, and cryptic means difficult to understand or having a hidden meaning. So he’s saying that this artwork is a grouping of symbols with hidden meaning. It looks interesting, but it’s not very easy to explain.
It can be really difficult to explain complex concepts like religion and philosophy in your artwork. Not only can the vocabulary be difficult to understand, it may not be easy to explain the symbolism or beliefs that go with it. A good language coach can help you to find the best words and phrasing to share your ideas with your audience in a way that is easy to understand.
At Artglish, we help artists and designers to speak confidently about their work. We coach you to speak professionally using the best vocabulary and correct pronunciation. If you want to learn more, click here to join The Studio and try some free ways to improve your English, or check out our Lessons page to learn how Artglish can help you succeed.
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 video, posted by the artist on May 3, 2018, click the link below: