Billings PechaKucha...Uhmm...Pe-What-chKa?

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Blog entry by Todd A. Clippinger posted 12-16-2010 08:04 PM 5158 reads 0 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch

What is a PechaKucha?

I was excited to receive an invitation by Collaborative Design Architects to make a presentation at the most recent PechaKucha in Billings.

I am sure you are wondering what this strange word is. First let me explain how it is pronounced: peh-CHAK-cha. This is a Japanese term which loosely translates as “chit chat” (as was shared with me.)

A PechaKucha is an event for creative people to share their work with the public. I use the term “creative people” because using the term “artist” seems to limit interpretation to the traditional painter, sculptor, photographer etc. that we only see in galleries & museums.

The purpose of the PechaKucha is to expose the community to the broad range of talented people that exercise their creativity everyday but are often not seen in galleries.

How does it work?

The presentation is also known as a “PechaKucha 20×20” or some just refer to it as a “20×20.” This is because the artist gets to show 20 slides for 20 seconds each for a total presentation of 6 minutes 40 seconds.

The artist has no control over the slide show. I could not pause it, back it up, or fast forward it. This keeps the pace of the show going. I really had to define what was the most important work and message that I wanted to share.

The PK 20×20 Experience

The venue is very relaxed. The public is already having a good time gallery hopping and is very receptive to seeing the artists share their work.

Part of the unique experience is due to the location. The PK 20×20’s are not normally held in a gallery but often in a warehouse, bar, or other informal setting. Still, most of the 11 artists seemed to be a bit nervous. This led to them making comical mistakes & remarks in their presentations but the crowd had a good laugh and the artists seem to loosen up.

I was not nervous at all until I stood up in front of the crowd. Then all of my thoughts fell out on the floor. The slide show started playing and my mouth, separate from my mind, started talking. Many artists had uncomfortable moments of silence in their presentations, but it seemed that my slides were changing faster than they had for the others. I talked non-stop and had to keep up with the ever increasing speed of the slide show.

When my presentation was over I sat down with little memory of what I had said. But after the show I got a lot of compliments on my work and presentation. This proves, once again, that my mouth has a mind of it’s own but fortunately it did not embarrass me this time.

The Value of PK 20×20

The PK 20×20 is a great venue for sharing your work. Locally it runs concurrent with the Billings Art Walk and the presentations start when the Art Walk ends.

It is an opportunity for sharing and defining your work to the local public. The audience is made up of a lot of people interested in art, other artists, architects, and designers. There is potential that some of these people will be looking for what I provide on future projects and now they know who I am and exactly the type of work I do.

Defining your work to the public is important. There were basically two types of people that approached me afterward. One group was impressed with my work but did not know I existed prior to the show. The other group thought they knew what I did and never bothered to check my website so they really had no clue. Their impression of me was anything from a handyman to trim carpenter but did not realize I was a Designer~Craftsman. So the PK 20×20 was a great opportunity to define who I am and what I offer.

A great follow-up to the show happened a week later when a guy approached me in a local coffee shop. He recognized me from the show and gave some very encouraging words on how impressive my work was and that he had enjoyed my presentation. That was a big boost for me:)

Another great value in participating was the connections made with other artists. I get a great deal of inspiration being around other artists, especially those that work in other disciplines. We often engage in stimulating conversations about the creative process and our projects. I find that exposing myself to other art develops my sense of design and I simply love being in the company of other “Creatives.”

One thing that is difficult for many of us to do is to stand in front of a large group of people and be the focus of attention. I felt that it was important that I take the opportunity to not only present my work but to get more experience speaking in public. This certainly has to be one of the best situations to practice public speaking.

Supporting Creativity and Art

A big “THANKS” goes to Collaborative Design Architects in Billings. They started the PechaKucha locally which is actually part of an international program. CDA’s goal with the PK 20×20 is to promote public awareness of the creativity & talent in Billings, MT and the surrounding region.

They have taken it upon themselves to shoulder this program with no other intent than to make the talent known and to support art in the local community. They understand the importance of art and creativity not only in architecture but the role and value it has in everyday life.

If you want to know more about PechaKucha check out and learn more about the program. You can see slide shows by artists from around the world and see if there is a local show that you can participate in which I encourage any artist or craftsman to do.

Your friend in the shop,

Todd A. Clippinger

”I am not a public speaker but, apparently, my mouth is”

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

17 comments so far

View Karson's profile


35152 posts in 4636 days

#1 posted 12-16-2010 09:54 PM

Congrztulations Todd. Good show (well I wasn’t there)

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia †

View sawblade1's profile


754 posts in 3263 days

#2 posted 12-16-2010 10:01 PM

Congratulations, Looks like you did an exceptional job again this time :)

-- Proverbs Ch:3 vs 5,6,7 Trust in the lord with all thine heart and lean not unto your own understanding but in all your ways aknowledge him and he shall direct your path

View MsDebbieP's profile


18618 posts in 4396 days

#3 posted 12-16-2010 10:09 PM

I am not surprised that you did well – you are a natural speaker and you have such a friendly “guy next door” approach that people would fall right under your spell :D

Thanks for letting us know about the 20×20

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View gbear's profile


517 posts in 4335 days

#4 posted 12-16-2010 11:21 PM

What a great idea, PechaKucha 20×20. A great way to meet other artists and to introduce one’s own work.
It’s great that you participated and thanks for sharing what a PechaKucha is.

-- gbear, Carmichael, CA

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4335 days

#5 posted 12-16-2010 11:49 PM

I was thinking that they video recorded it but I have not seen it yet. If it gets posted I will get the link.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4535 days

#6 posted 12-17-2010 02:09 AM

Congratulations Todd!

That was a great opportunity for you.

When read your blog title, I thought you were starting to talk similar to a MN Iron Ranger.


-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6866 posts in 4215 days

#7 posted 12-17-2010 02:57 PM

Hi Todd;

Congratulations. I’m sure you did well.

I know how public speaking can be very unsettling. I’ve had the opportunity to do it a few times, and much to my surprise, I did ok. Actually, using the word opportunity was not accurate. More like I was forced to do it, and a couple times, without prior notice. I was just standing at the back of the room, minding my own business, and listening to other woodworkers doing a presentation. Next thing I know, I’m hearing my name being announced, along with a request to speak to the group. At least when done that way, there is no time to worry about it.

Hope it brings you some well deserved recognition.


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View MsDebbieP's profile


18618 posts in 4396 days

#8 posted 12-17-2010 03:37 PM

for me, the best tip for public speaking is to speak on something you totally believe in – even that is believing that you “don’t know” or “don’t have an opinion”.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4335 days

#9 posted 12-17-2010 03:41 PM

Ms Deb-I agree. I view it as I am just sharing what I am passionate about with friends…just a few hundred of them that I don’t know and are all staring only at me…

Now I am nervous.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View MsDebbieP's profile


18618 posts in 4396 days

#10 posted 12-17-2010 03:44 PM

hahaha :)
tip #2: see “1” group rather than a few hundred individuals.

you are too funny. I’m still chuckling

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3909 days

#11 posted 12-17-2010 04:46 PM

Congrats, Todd.

View Chip's profile


1904 posts in 4328 days

#12 posted 12-17-2010 04:54 PM

Congratulations to you Todd. You are always so passionate about woodworking that I have no doubt they could sense it no matter what happened.

I read somewhere that when you have a brain freeze like that you’re suppose to picture the whole audience naked in your mind. I have absolutely no idea why that would work… fact is, you’d probably need counseling after the speech…

-- Better to say nothing and be thought the fool... then to speak and erase all doubt!

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4335 days

#13 posted 12-17-2010 07:33 PM

Chip – Aside from my mind freezing up, my body is passionate enough about woodworking that it carried on sharing with the audience without me:)

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View Bob Kollman's profile

Bob Kollman

1798 posts in 3427 days

#14 posted 12-18-2010 11:54 PM

Congradulations, looks like a great way to share your work

and get some free advertising for your shop. 2011, might

be a gang buster year for you!!! Also looks like a great way

to meet new and interesting people who you might never

have met otherwise.

-- Bob Kenosha Wi.

View reggiek's profile


2240 posts in 3506 days

#15 posted 12-19-2010 12:39 AM

I hate public speaking….I always wonder how some folks can become so adept at it. Sounds like you did alright (isn’t it like a plane crash…if you walk away from it…you did ok…)...and what a great way to share the craft and the passion. I am glad that woodworking has such a great spokesperson – as you certainly do a great job sharing on LJ’s.

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

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