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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?



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Replies to This Discussion

     I am not a great artist, but I have my own opinions on both of these statements.  

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.

     I agree that in order to be successful, an artist must treat art like a "normal" job in some ways.  If somebody wants art to be the main source of income, the artist must treat his or her art like a business, in one way or another.  As far as 8 years in art school, I'm not sure why 8 years is a magical number.  Some students may learn as much in two years as another learns in 9.  Many great artists never went to art school.  If an artist is dedicated to learning and practicing his or her craft, he or she may learn as much or more than the 8-year art student.  I am in art school, and I will freely admit that the bulk of my education has come from sources outside the classroom.

2.  You don't have to have any talent to be an artist.

     What is talent?  It seems to me that those who are "talented" in art are mostly those who have stuck with it over the years.  Some people seem to be able to draw or paint very well since childhood, but I think this is because these people are able to see things clearly in that way that the artist sees without having to be trained to see in this way.  I think that "talent" is mostly an intense love of the activity.  The person who loves art passionately is the person who is willing to put in the hours necessary to learn, and the person who will stick with it through discouragement and failure. The great athlete was not born with the ability to perform well, he or she spent countless hours honing the abilities necessary to become a great athlete.  So, I think that if one defines talent as a mere ability which seems to have come from nowhere, then talent isn't necessary, since so few artists are born with this sort of prodigy status.  If one defines talent as the love of a thing which pushes one through adversity and failure, then yes, talent is definitely necessary.  


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