Thursday, April 3, 2008



People sometimes see a person working at art and say: “Oh…you are so talented. I can’t even draw a stick figure….or even a straight line for that matter.”

Well, for one: L.S. Lowry, the Mancunian English painter, hit on an idea and painted match-stick figures. One of those paintings sold recently for 602,400 (Pounds Sterling) at auction recently.

And I don’t know an architect who doesn’t use a straight edge if they want to see straight lines.

Do people listen to what they are saying? My guess is that they “think” they are being kind…or chatty. However what happens, in fact, is that they bring the process of art down to only one level. With one statement they negate all the hours and hard work people put into their aesthetic attentions.

I wonder if they realize that many artists (me included) have studied and worked at art longer than most of their doctors have worked in medicine.

The word “talent” is defined as: a person who possesses unusual innate ability in some field or activity. I think there are very few working artists that feel like they have “talent” that they can just fall back on when their art is not “working” in the studio.

I can believe that one could have a talent to:

A. dedicate a life to learning.
B. dedicate a life to learning through disappointment, inductive, and deductive reasonings.
C. understand Phi and other mathematical applications for a better composition.
D. understand composition as having real laws and they apply to 2D as well as 3D art….not just a chocolate box cover “feel good” approach for a sale.
E. dedicate a life to understanding materials (and long for some that aren’t made anymore).
F. understand that, should they decide to make art their career path, that the proportion of artists that are making money is even more disparaging than the screen actors guild.

“I put my heart and my soul into my work, and have lost my mind in the process.” Vincent van Gogh. (And by the way…thank you Kevn Lambson for creating such a brilliant book ARTSY QUIRKSY – Seeing Things Sideways, through Idear Studios… for that referenced quote).

Understand that after an artist has died his work becomes distilled and hopefully all the bad stuff has been destroyed (unless it has been stolen out of your trash by “an adoring fan”….I am sad for Robert Rauschenberg having to sue over his trash…however free advertising in the form of editorial is not THAT bad). And then the art historians can get on with their gig of explaining art and its place in history.

"Art is never finished, only abandoned.” Leonardo da Vinci

I have a new “talent” for working on more than one painting at a time. I am finding it MOST useful in not getting frustrated or focusing too much on what is NOT working and just getting on to the next pastel with the hope that something will work.

Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.” Thank you Scott Adams (American Cartoonist).

So do some artists have talent? I don’t think talent has ANYTHING directly to do with art. Having talent as part of the passion and dedication to the process of art…maybe.

And my new mantra (I would like to thank the great writer Steve Martin):

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