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Recently I purchased a book that was recommended to me, "How successful Artists Study." I haven't read through the whole book but found myself disagreeing with this author on several issues and would love to hear everyones input on a couple of the authors ideas:
1. You must treat Art like any other job you are preparing for in life. YOU MUST spend at least 8 years in art school, otherwise you will not have the skills to succeed?
2. You don't have to have any talent to be an artist.
I spend a lot of time struggling with these two ideas that the author wrote chapters on. First off, many of the artist I have spoke with never attended a formal arts academy. Some participate in groups, where they work on thier art, critiqe it, etc. However, I have found few artist who have spent years at an arts academy.
The second opinion of the authors also bothers me quite a bit. I would like to believe that on some level every artist has some gift or creativity, vision, something that drives them to want to create art, however I don't think anyone can do it. I have spent some time recently working with "college age" students trying to prepare them for ART 101. I have to say that I have bluntly used the phrase "You have no talent, but if you keep working on it you may develop the tools you need (to pass the class). They want to be an artist but cannot even get past what I call "the egg" (In terms of shading, making something appear 3 dimensional, etc.)
So what do you think about these two ideas, I would love to hear everyones input?
Definiately 2 provocative statements that have provoked a fascinating discussion. I do wonder if the author's underlying message is that ''Hard work and committment are more important than pure talent alone."
Thanks for joining this discussion Alex, I hope the others are still active. Actually, I do treat my art career as a job. This is how I make a living, and I keep painting whether I'm sick or feel like it. Yes, I have some obsessiveness about it, and it's hard to stop until I like what I see. I wonder sometimes whether I'm talented, or just willing to work hard. But I don't care what the answer is, when I love the end product.
I am self taught and a professional for over 20 years. A few years ago I went to an art college, that supposedly emphasized classical training, to see if I'd missed anything. Nah. For someone who's driven and self-disciplined, I think you can learn what you need yourself. Beyond that, you can look for artists who are doing work you'd like to do and approach them directly for lessons. It still doesn't mean they are able to teach what they know; I think teaching is a gift you're born with also.
I had some helpful life experiences on the business side of art. I was a researcher/secretary for an art appraiser. It was very interesting to learn how appraisers look at art and describe it, as well as how they evaluate the quality of a certain painting within an artist's ouvre. I worked in two very different galleries, learning a lot about marketing and sales. I took many general sales trainings. I volunteered as an art museum docent, and learned about the politics of collection committees. One of my former assistants described to me a temporary job she did. It was in a factory, set up by an artist who was commissioned to provide a few thousand abstract paintings for a cruise ship. No art college that I know of provides this kind of information.
I agree, Steen. Am I talented, or just willing to work hard, until it looks right? And sadly, I see quite a few MFA grads whose work is sub-par.