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  • Writer's pictureJulia Bakay

Introducing the 'Keynote Artist'


It was one of those stereotypical lightbulb moments when I coined this term for myself: ‘Keynote Artist’.


Visual Notes & Keynotes


I already often use the word 'Visual Notes' to describe my work, but felt that it may need a bit more weight -it’s not just NOTES after all, it’s the KEY IDEAS I aim to capture, link and illustrate. Thus came the idea to use ‘Visual Keynotes’ more…


This was at a time when I was working with many Keynote Speakers, and started thinking of their widely accepted title… and how simple and logical it would be then to let the world call me a Keynote Artist.


Artist - What's in a Name?


Now some of us don't like being called artists, and there may be several good reasons for that. Firstly, being called an artist doesn't quite cover the strategic partnership aspect of our work that's only best understood once you’ve collaborated with one of us!


Others may want to stay far away from it due to all of the negative associations to the word, artists being fluky, unreliable or dramatic, not to mention the ‘starving artist' myths. Others simply don’t think of their work as art, and would not want to present it as something it's not. 


I personally love the word Artist. My mother is an artist and I started my career as an art teacher - to me, it’s been a dream. I’ve always looked at it as a fascinating and noble path to take - to follow your creative genius with a leap of faith… and then add all the business skills along the way!


Because, as I later found out, to be a successful artist, it’s not enough to let that left hemisphere fly wild - we need to learn hundreds of skills, from sales, negotiations, to SEO, to make it work!


And if you master this combination, the dance of the two sides of your brain, you will have reached the freedom and expertise that will allow you to follow your passion.

So yes, I’m proud to add Artist to my title, as it takes more than ever to stay one in the 21st century!


The Original Keynote Artist, Julia Bakay

Keynote Artist


So, as I’ve gone explored and tried the many titles our industry has created to capture what we do, I’ve decided to create and wear my own: Keynote Artist. 


Based on Keynote Speakers, who....

  • "are responsible for setting the tone and tenor of the gathering that resonates through the event..."

  • "posses exceptional communication skills... "

  • "captivate and inspire... "

  • "establish a main underlying theme...

  • "establish the framework...".

...a Keynote Artist feels like a logical name, as we do much of the above, from extracting the Keynotes to capturing the feel of a Live event.


The Origin of 'Keynote Artist'


Did I come up with the title, 'Keynote Artist'? As most things in life these days, if I did a little googled search, it may turn out that it has existed for thousands of years meaning something completely different.. And that's OK. (I haven't actually dared to look it up - I like it so much).


Keynote Artist works for me, as it seems to cover what I do in a way that’s easy to understand. After all, almost all of my work revolves around the keynotes of a given event, conference, workshop, conversation, or document. In fact, I only work with the key ideas and my job is often to filter out the non-key ideas! 


What is a title for?


It’s interesting to think that if you start climbing a corporate ladder, you’d expect your job title to change every couple years - because you improve, you change, you take more and more on.


Not quite in our Self-Employed world! We pick a title, a garment, - and keep wearing it until we get known for it - much like the characters of Scooby Doo! But what if it doesn’t quite fit? What if you’ve outgrown it? What if you’d like to try something else on? 


Graphic Recorders wear a name like Scooby Doo Characters wear their clothes

Does what we wear have to define us, or could it just support us in telling others who we currently are?


Julia Bakay, 

Keynote Artist






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Thoughts from a Keynote Artist & Visual Strategist

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