Giving artists talks about your work is an important activity in the art world. It is important to take every opportunity to hone this skill.
Giving talks is important for a number of reasons. First, it helps you to be able to articulate points about your work that you think are important. Sometimes, talking about work can be difficult, but if you are forced to sit down and write about your work, not only conceptually, but also when it comes to process, it can help to further your own understanding about how and why you make work.
The other side of learning to talk about your work is learning how to answer questions. Usually, lectures have a Q&A session at the end. There are usually questions asked that you never see coming, and those experiences can, again, help you to figure out more about your work and give you new ways to explain what you are doing.[flickr id=”6301828647″ thumbnail=”medium” overlay=”true” size=”original” group=”” align=”none”]
Finally, it always looks good on resumes. This is especially true if you are interested in possibly teaching in a university setting at some point. Being able to show that you have been in situations where you have presented your work to the public is usually something that institutions interested in hiring you like to see. Also, it helps you to talk about your work, which is also something that an institution interested in hiring you will want you to be capable of doing.[flickr id=”8206588886″ thumbnail=”medium” overlay=”true” size=”original” group=”” align=”none”]
I have an example of how to take advantage of simple opportunities. When you are traveling, see if there is somewhere that might like to hear you speak or possibly be interested in having you in to look at student work. For example, once I knew that I was going to be in Germany for the opening of my show, I decided to begin contacting institutions with art programs to see if they might be interested in having me come and give a lecture about the work I have been making. I happen to have a friend in Berlin, and she helped to get me in contact with a university in Potsdam (just outside Berlin). I was able to set up a lecture there with some of the students.
Again, it all comes back to making yourself look as good as possible. Part of that comes from building up a good resume, and part comes from honing your craft and being able to articulate ideas and interests.