Is a talent for art natural or learnable?
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    Is a talent for art natural or learnable?

    Hello, i am 16 years old and have been into art all my life, and would like to be a concept artist ( or something along those lines ) when i leave my years of education, this is my first post, but will soon be posting work on these boards!

    Anyway. i am just wondering about Art, and learning art, I am considered by my friends and art class/teacher the 'Arty' Student in the school and have a natural love and talent for Art. when somebody asks me for some help, weather is be somebody in my family, a friend at school and so on, i always struggle to be able to help the majority of people. i will explain the most basic of ideas and no matter how me, or my art teacher explains it, they will never pick it up, and can never get it down on paper.

    Which gets me thinking, is art really something you can learn? I mean yes you can learn it to an extent, but in my honest opinion, you need that something to understand Art pick it up efficiently and a solid natural understanding of which you can build up from and have a great advantage.

    I just find people who have said ' i have always been good at art' always seem to be the ones who can learn so much faster, and get a better all around grasp on the conceptuality of art.

    Thanks for reading.

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    I HAVE to repeat the Elwell quote here :"Everyone can learn to ride a bicycle, but not everyone can be Lance Armstrong."

    Everyone can draw, but not everyone has the natural ability to learn or the headstrongness required to overcome the lack of natural ability. Some people will always learn faster than others, but even then they might give up. If you have a natural ability, it just means the hard work you will put in will show even more. But you will still need hard work.

    Last edited by Qitsune; April 16th, 2008 at 07:14 PM.
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    It's like any other skill. Think about it the same way you would math, or music, or sports. Most people, with enough effort and the proper instruction, can reach a basic level of proficiency. Some people have a natural physical/mental advantage, and can learn much more easily and progress farther. Some people have a physical/mental handicap, and will never be able to do some things.


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    Talent is the cultivation of your passion.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vhan Juju View Post
    Talent is the cultivation of your passion.
    I was just about to say the same thing! I disagree that a "talent" for art (or anything else) is innate. We just have an interest in something (art, sports, music), and if we immerse ourselves in it, pretty soon folks are saying we are talented in that field. But is that talent innate, or a byproduct of our 24/7 indulgence in the subject?

    What may be innate is the ability to feel passion. Talent is the byproduct of that passion.

    I know many people who seem incapable of passion. They are pretty dull, and usually talentless.

    If you have a passion for art, talent will follow.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wooly ESS View Post
    I disagree that a "talent" for art (or anything else) is innate.
    Really?
    So there's nothing inherently different or special about Tiger Woods, Bobby Fisher, Stephen Hawking, Michael Jordan, Bob Dylan, Meryl Streep, Jack Kirby...?

    Thinking that anybody can be exceptional at anything as long as they work hard enough is as much of a fallacy as saying some people don't have to work hard at all to be exceptional.


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    Talent exists in all fields. Natural specific aptitude exists in all fields. It can be wasted by lack of training or laziness.

    There is such a thing as talent. Some people have it, and some don't. Get over it.

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    The definition of "talent" is an inate natural ability. It's not the same thing as learning a skill, but rather that certain skills supposedly come easier for some than they do for others.

    My personal view is that being good at something is not some special gift, but the result of hard work and dedication. "Talent" alone is not enough. It's conceiveable to me that there may be some biological gene that controls our facility for certain things, but that still doesn't make the end result magically appear. You might be a potentially fast runner, but you still have to train.

    Last edited by dbclemons; April 17th, 2008 at 08:07 AM. Reason: grammar
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    I disagree that a "talent" for art (or anything else) is innate

    I kind of disagree also, although i respect your opinion.

    Theres always people who stand out weather it be, art, maths, football...anything.
    Take me for example, i played basketball for about 4 years, purely out of joy did i play. but i never got any good, even though i dedicated to it simply because i enjoyed it. but i never shined.

    In my opinion everybody is born with a profession that suits them.
    You could take a talentless individual to the best artist in the world and i bet he would learn very little in comparison to somebody who naturally grasps the concept of art.

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    Where does this insistence that "talent" does not exist come from? It's bizarre.

    We are not unique and beautiful snowflakes with infinite capacity to do anything our heart desires.
    Different people are hardwired to be better at some things than others.
    I never forget a face, Mrs Flake never forgets a phone number..

    No amount of practice or enthusiasm will ever see me as a composer or champion UFC fighter, I am simply not equipped to do this. I have a poor sense of pitch and a low tolerance for being punched in the face.

    It's not a politically correct theory but the evidence is all around us if you care to look.

    Last edited by Flake; April 19th, 2008 at 09:11 AM.
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    I do believe in natural talent, but without very hard work it will begin to show less and less as you get older beacuse I think, for the most part, it can only be milked so far as time goes on. To achieve the quality of the old Masters, a combination of raw natural talent and a stupendous amount of hard work is required. Hand-in-hand. As what's already been said, natural talent is just the ability to learn things quicker than others, to instinctivly do something that other's would not..

    Last edited by B u r l; April 17th, 2008 at 12:34 PM.
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    I think talent is overrated. If talent where a strong phenomenon then somebody 'talented' in art, who never picked up a pencil when they were young, could start to learn how to draw when they reached adulthood and find it easier than the average person. I don't believe that would be the case, I think the skills developed in youth lay the groundwork for what people call 'talent'.

    I think that when most 'talented artists' were very young they were doodling and sketching while their brains were developing, and then as they grew they continued to draw constantly and where usually motivated by positive reinforcement from their peers and elders. The same with sport and music and any skill – while there are many physical and mental handicaps that might prevent a person from ever developing 'talent' – I believe the average person can achieve very high levels of skill if the right groundwork was laid.

    So in my opinion, while talent doesn't exist in an innate sense, the important developmental stage in which skills are primed is usually before a conscious age, and it may be extremely difficult or impossible to remedy a deficit in this early training with focused study at a later age. Perhaps 'talent' is the predisposition to pick up the pencil at a young age in the first place, though that might just be parental influence or circumstance.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Flake View Post
    Where does this insistence that "talent" does not exist come from? It's bizarre.
    Easy: The "68'ers" have "marched through the institutions" of the west (As per Gramsci's dictum) and taken over the culture. Now there are no adults around to stop them from spewing their received Dogma . Some of them don't even know why they believe and say the things they do, like "there is no such thing as talent", because they only received the following from second and third hand sources...

    Antonio Gramsci (1891-1937), a Marxist intellectual and politician. Despite his enormous influence on today’s politics, he remains far less well-known to most Americans than does Tocqueville.

    Gramsci’s main legacy arises through his departures from orthodox Marxism. Like Marx, he argued that all societies in human history have been divided into two basic groups: the privileged and the marginalized, the oppressor and the oppressed, the dominant and the subordinate. Gramsci expanded Marx’s ranks of the "oppressed" into categories that still endure. As he wrote in his famous Prison Notebooks, "The marginalized groups of history include not only the economically oppressed, but also women, racial minorities and many ‘criminals.’" What Marx and his orthodox followers described as "the people," Gramsci describes as an "ensemble" of subordinate groups and classes in every society that has ever existed until now. This collection of oppressed and marginalized groups — "the people" — lack unity and, often, even consciousness of their own oppression. To reverse the correlation of power from the privileged to the "marginalized," then, was Gramsci’s declared goal.

    Power, in Gramsci’s observation, is exercised by privileged groups or classes in two ways: through domination, force, or coercion; and through something called "hegemony," which means the ideological supremacy of a system of values that supports the class or group interests of the predominant classes or groups. Subordinate groups, he argued, are influenced to internalize the value systems and world views of the privileged groups and, thus, to consent to their own marginalization.

    Far from being content with a mere uprising, therefore, Gramsci believed that it was necessary first to delegitimize the dominant belief systems of the predominant groups and to create a "counter-hegemony" (i.e., a new system of values for the subordinate groups) before the marginalized could be empowered. Moreover, because hegemonic values permeate all spheres of civil society -- schools, churches, the media, voluntary associations -- civil society itself, he argued, is the great battleground in the struggle for hegemony, the "war of position." From this point, too, followed a corollary for which Gramsci should be known (and which is echoed in the feminist slogan) — that all life is "political." Thus, private life, the work place, religion, philosophy, art, and literature, and civil society, in general, are contested battlegrounds in the struggle to achieve societal transformation.

    It is perhaps here that one sees Gramsci’s most important reexamination of Marx’s thought. Classical Marxists implied that a revolutionary consciousness would simply develop from the objective (and oppressive) material conditions of working class life. Gramsci disagreed, noting that "there have always been exploiters and exploited" — but very few revolutions per se. In his analysis, this was because subordinate groups usually lack the "clear theoretical consciousness" necessary to convert the "structure of repression into one of rebellion and social reconstruction." Revolutionary "consciousness" is crucial. Unfortunately, the subordinate groups possess "false consciousness," that is to say, they accept the conventional assumptions and values of the dominant groups, as "legitimate." But real change, he continued to believe, can only come about through the transformation of consciousness.

    Just as Gramsci’s analysis of consciousness is more nuanced than Marx’s, so too is his understanding of the role of intellectuals in that process. Marx had argued that for revolutionary social transformation to be successful, the world views of the predominant groups must first be unmasked as instruments of domination. In classical Marxism, this crucial task of demystifying and delegitimizing the ideological hegemony of the dominant groups is performed by intellectuals. Gramsci, more subtly, distinguishes between two types of intellectuals: "traditional" and "organic." What subordinate groups need, Gramsci maintains, are their own "organic intellectuals." However, the defection of "traditional" intellectuals from the dominant groups to the subordinate groups, he held, is also important, because traditional intellectuals who have "changed sides" are well positioned within established institutions.

    The metaphysics behind this Gramscian worldview are familiar enough. Gramsci describes his position as "absolute historicism," meaning that morals, values, truths, standards and human nature itself are products of different historical epochs. There are no absolute moral standards that are universally true for all human beings outside of a particular historical context; rather, morality is "socially constructed."

    Historically, Antonio Gramsci’s thought shares features with other writers who are classified as "Hegelian Marxists" — the Hungarian Marxist Georg Lukacs, the German thinker Karl Korsch, and members of the "Frankfurt School" (e.g., Theodor Adorno and Herbert Marcuse), a group of theorists associated with the Institute for Social Research founded in Frankfurt, Germany in the 1920s, some of whom attempted to synthesize the thinking of Marx and Freud. All emphasized that the decisive struggle to overthrow the bourgeois regime (that is, middle-class liberal democracy) would be fought out at the level of consciousness. That is, the old order had to be rejected by its citizens intellectually and morally before any real transfer of power to the subordinate groups could be achieved.
    Somewhere along the way, quality and talent were determined to be hierarchical and "socially constructed" ideas and thus bits of "false consciousness" that don't really exist.... except as useful tools of psychological hegemony used by "the man" to oppress dissenting culture.

    In 1923, in Germany, a group of Marxists founded an institute devoted to making the translation, the Institute of Social Research (later known as the Frankfurt School). One of its founders, George Lukacs, stated its purpose as answering the question, “Who shall save us from Western Civilization?” At a meeting in Germany in 1923, “Lukacs proposed the concept of inducing “Cultural Pessimism” in order to increase the state of hopelessness and alienation in the people of the West as a necessary prerequisite for revolution.”


    Last edited by kev ferrara; April 16th, 2008 at 09:56 PM.
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    Talent means that your brain is wired up to be more efficient at certain tasks. As someone has already said, Tiger Woods' talent was for swinging golf clubs. My mother has drawings I made when I was 4yrs old that were using perspective and drawing figures without ready made symbols. My earliest memories are of wondering why other kids put blue lines at to top of the page for sky when I was drawing trains coming at you out of tunnels. At that stage I did not 'practice' - I was just good at reinterpreting the world as graphic patterns.
    I stopped drawing at about 15 when I thought I wanted to be an engineer only to start again at 21 when I quit University. Here's the interesting bit: When I resumed I was no better than when I stopped at 15 and I was rejected by Art school because I was not good enough. I spent one year doing nothing but painting an drawing and at the end of it re-submitted to the art school system and was taken on by the most prestigious school in the country, The Slade School. This simply would not have been possible had I not had an artistic 'eye for the ball'. It would also not have been possible without flat out, foot to the floor, intesity of work and determination. It's like fuel and a good engine - you need both to make a decent racing car.

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    My post seems to have generated some heat.

    So much so, that I feel the need to clarify.

    1) I absolutely believe that talent exists in varying amounts over a wide variety of human activities. What I doubt is that talent is innate.

    2) I absolutely believe that humans are NOT born alike. They are born with an ability to feel passion in widely varying degrees and toward an infinite variety of subjects.

    3) Talent is the external manifestation of passion. Its expression is the result of desire and circumstance.

    I don't mind being crapped on for my opinions, but please have the decency to get them right.

    A good subject for another discussion would be, "Do you believe you have innate talent as an artist?"

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    I'm with Wooly ESS on this one. I think you guys are mistaking talent for a particular activity, with a general aptitude at a wide range of activities. I mean, Tiger Woods did not pop out of the womb and immediately start swinging the golf club perfectly - don't be ridiculous. He has good hand eye coordination, a physique that lends itself to athleticism, no physical flaws that might handicap his swing, he had a father who was a golf instructor guiding him from childhood and he practiced his arse off to get good.

    It is not helpful to the young to think that there is this magical thing called talent, and that if you don't have it you will never be world class. When I was 16 I wish someone had told me this because I would have been helpful. When you're that age you look up to famous people and think I could never be like them but that is bullshit! Believe and it will happen. Unless you're mentally handicapped or a cripple you have just as much chance as anyone else to be world class. All you have to do is ask a world class talent what they were doing when they were 16, how much work did they have to do to get where they are today etc. I think you'll find that they were once just an ordinary Joe with a passion.

    It's even easier now-a-days with internet and it's wealth of information. You can very quickly find out what the best books are to read, and if you can't afford books there's tons of free information available, this site being a point of example.

    If you wanna get good, be passionate and even obsessive, read and absorb, practice practice practice, and never ever believe that only the 'talented' make it - what rot!

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    Wanting something to be true is one thing and the truth is another. There are a lot of broken hearts in the art world. We are not born equal, either because of circumstance or innate advantages over others.
    Nick Faldo practices and is as passionate as Tiger Woods about winning and golf. The fact is that that Tiger Woods wins more tournaments, and the reason for that is because he is better than Faldo - I'm British so I'm not biased! Both men have exceptional hand eye co-ordination and no matter how much I tried I would never be anywhere as good as even a club pro let alone Faldo - I'm fit but nothing special - just a jouneyman when it come to sports. (I used to practice a lot at tennis, but was regularly swept the floor with by people who played half as much but had real class ball sense.
    I think it is misguided to tell youngsters that we are equal in this regard - the extreme case would be to tell someone with one leg they could win sprinting races.
    However, this is NOT the same as telling some people 'not to bother'. What it DOES say is that we have a moral duty (as far as I see it) to make youngsters aware that in the middle leagues and above of any profession EVERYBODY is putting in a lot of work, is very intense about what they are doing, and fighting like crazy over the only available money carcus lying dead on the plain at any given moment and it is only when their appetite is sated they will let someone else in on things. Putting in hard work is not, for this reason, going to make you special. This aint pleasant, but its the truth and I would feel real bad about sending a cub out on the plain with the idea this was not the way things worked.
    I feel we should say something like: 'For every ounce of natural ability you don't have you are going to have to make up for with work over and above what those who have it are doing just to compensate a little. If you still want to do it then there is one thing you DO have a lot of, and that's guts and temprement - something far more valuable and rare than talent. However, think things over a lot, because you are not the strongest in the pack'

    Last edited by Chris Bennett; April 17th, 2008 at 05:20 AM.
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    I'd rather not call it talent, but the passion or drive for something. Obviously, if you're totally crazy about something and doing nothing else all day, you'll learn and improve very quickly.
    A friend of mine who paints really darn well once said, "there you practice your ass off and then people blame the results on 'talent'".

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Bennett View Post
    Nick Faldo practices and is as passionate as Tiger Woods about winning and golf. The fact is that that Tiger Woods wins more tournaments, and the reason for that is because he is better than Faldo
    Comparing Nick Faldo and Tiger Woods is not very useful. For one they're different age groups, and secondly Tiger Woods had a head start. If they'd both been brought up in the same environment they would be of equal ability. There is no such thing as a golf gene for crying out loud.

    Yes, there are people with a higher aptitude but if you don't have that aptitude then you're just going to have to work harder, so how much do you want it? There is no mythical talent ceiling you will never be able to pass through, especially with something as subjective as art. And at 16 if their's one thing in your favour it is time.

    Now, I am talking about the average person here. Of course a one legged man is never going to be able to be a world class sprinter, nor is a tragic clutz going to be a world class golfer. But if you don't have any obvious disadvantages I argue you most certainly can do whatever you want to, and challenge the best in the world at it, and even if you have a handicap you might be surprised where you find yourself if you go for it - there is a one legged skier here in Australia called Michael Milton that is eyeing the able-bodied skiing speed record at the moment.

    And one more point, if you've ever been discouraged in your pursuits by a teacher at school for example always be skeptical about their ability to see your abilities. In other words believe in yourself always, because belief is often the only thing that separates the best from the rest.

    I may be starting to sound like a cheezy motivational speaker here but I'm certain I'm right because I've proved it to myself. I was told I should not pursue art out of school but engineering, and I did, but have ended up living the art life anyway and am an Architect by profession. Funny we're talking about golf here too because that's another thing I have been crap at socially for decades and it's only in the last year I've put my mind to it and have improved dramatically, from hopeless hacker to clean consistent 250m striker of the ball simply from intense practice and reading and observing Tiger Woods swing over and over. Now I may be coordinated person (I have aptitude) but mastering golf did not just happen, I made a 2 year plan and practiced etc and it worked.

    If there is such a thing as 'talent' then I'm absolutely certain it is subservient to drive, determination, obsessiveness. Put your mind to it (the brain is a remarkable thing) and you might surprise yourself. Believe you're going to fail and you most certainly will.

    Last edited by b1_; April 17th, 2008 at 06:32 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by b1_ View Post
    Comparing Nick Faldo and Tiger Woods is not very useful. For one they're different age groups, and secondly Tiger Woods had a head start. If they'd both been brought up in the same environment they would be of equal ability. There is no such thing as a golf gene for crying out loud.
    I think we all understand that there is no such thing as a golf gene and that we are talking about physical co-ordination applied to golf or for that matter, the ability to fluently make graphic equivalents for what we see when looking at the world.
    Tiger Woods is younger and he has still more tournaments under his belt than Faldo, which surely underlines my argument even further. As for being brought up in the same environment, how do you know? It's purely hypothetical. The fact remains that there are a whole bunch of fit, well co-ordinated, highly motivated and dedicated guys all wanting the same thing. Some consistently beat the others over a general average. The difference is ingredients of talent - and that is a whole package of things from hand-to-eye co-ordination, muscle groupings, weight distribution, aptitude for spacial awareness and judgements thereof, abilities to stay calm and focused under pressure, concentration etc etc. These are all abilities that are there in variying degrees in all of us. If someone possesses a strong suit in most of them they are going to be world class. If they don't they can only at best be also rans, no matter how much they dearly want it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Bennett View Post
    Tiger Woods is younger and he has still more tournaments under his belt than Faldo, which surely underlines my argument even further. As for being brought up in the same environment, how do you know? It's purely hypothetical.
    Yes it is hypothetical but you can't seriously be telling me you don't think it makes a difference that Tiger picked up a club before he could walk and had a golf instructor father, where someone like Adam Scott started playing golf at 12.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Bennett View Post
    The difference is ingredients of talent - and that is a whole package of things from hand-to-eye co-ordination, muscle groupings, weight distribution, aptitude for spacial awareness and judgements thereof, abilities to stay calm and focused under pressure, concentration etc etc. These are all abilities that are there in variying degrees in all of us. If someone possesses a strong suit in most of them they are going to be world class. If they don't they can only at best be also rans, no matter how much they dearly want it.
    Well, I argue the difference is ingredients of instruction. Tiger Woods wins because he makes less mistakes. The reason he makes less mistakes is because he was taught correctly, or better than the other guys, from an early age. Yes, all those guys will have varying degrees of coordination and whatever else but I don't think that's what sets them apart. Let me put it this way, a naturally 'talented' person who has never played will never beat an untalented person who's been instructed correctly and practiced for years; nor will a naturally talented sprinter etc. It's the instruction, practice hard work that is the major portion of ability, not 'talent'.

    We may have to agree to disagree. I guess I prefer optimism to pessimism, I think it's more constructive. It's served me well anyway.

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    The morning stars to sing'
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    Quote Originally Posted by b1_ View Post
    Yes it is hypothetical but you can't seriously be telling me you don't think it makes a difference that Tiger picked up a club before he could walk and had a golf instructor father, where someone like Adam Scott started playing golf at 12.



    Well, I argue the difference is ingredients of instruction. Tiger Woods wins because he makes less mistakes. The reason he makes less mistakes is because he was taught correctly, or better than the other guys, from an early age. Yes, all those guys will have varying degrees of coordination and whatever else but I don't think that's what sets them apart. Let me put it this way, a naturally 'talented' person who has never played will never beat an untalented person who's been instructed correctly and practiced for years; nor will a naturally talented sprinter etc. It's the instruction, practice hard work that is the major portion of ability, not 'talent'.

    We may have to agree to disagree. I guess I prefer optimism to pessimism, I think it's more constructive. It's served me well anyway.
    Of course I'm not suggesting that practice and quality of one's training doesn't make a huge difference - like I said earlier, both petrol and a good engine have to go together to make a decent racing car.

    I would also agree that hard work is a major portion of ability. But you can make the engine with as much care as you like but its ultimate performance will depend on the petrol (talent). An efficient engine with not much fuel will go further than a badly prepared one with gallons of the stuff, yes. But that's not what is happening on the race track - all the engines are as high tuned as it is possible to make them. In the competetive field (of commercial art and design etc) everyone is making huge efforts, so trying to make up for shortcomings in natural ability is going to have far less effect.

    I don't think I am being pessamistic at all. One of the huge problems with art schools is that they ladel out an unrealistic picture of what is out there waiting for students in the real world. Students spend a couple of years with the full attention of the tutours and their peers and all of a sudden, when they leave.......nothing. This fucks up so many people it's next door to criminal. I have taught from time to time in art schools and my main focus is trying to ignite the straw of whatever their gifts are, large or small, with the spark of enthusiasm or inspiration. I'm desperate to give them something that will be of value to them all of their lives, and top of the list is belief in themselves.

    But here is the important distinction:
    To give a student a real chance of 'believing in themselves' in a sustainable way that they can continue with once the teacher has gone means you that you must never tell them fairy stories - they will one day grow out of them, and not without the accompanying tears. If someone has a small song to sing don't tell them they have an opera. Tell them it is a small one....but it is theirs and no one elses and you must convince them that to sing it as beautifully as they can is one of the noblest things anyone can ever do. Telling them they have a bigger voice than they do is to make them betray and choke and strain the voice they naturally have.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Bennett View Post
    I stopped drawing at about 15 when I thought I wanted to be an engineer only to start again at 21 when I quit University. Here's the interesting bit: When I resumed I was no better than when I stopped at 15 and I was rejected by Art school because I was not good enough. I spent one year doing nothing but painting an drawing and at the end of it re-submitted to the art school system and was taken on by the most prestigious school in the country, The Slade School. This simply would not have been possible had I not had an artistic 'eye for the ball'. It would also not have been possible without flat out, foot to the floor, intesity of work and determination. It's like fuel and a good engine - you need both to make a decent racing car.
    This sounds to me like hard work got you in, not talent. If it was talent you would have got in the first time. I'm confused why you are arguing the talent side? (funnily enough your story sounds similar to mine.)

    I'm sorry Chris but as I said, we're going to have to agree to disagree. You do sound like my teacher in high school who steered me away from art, a realist and maybe a bit of a cynic who thought I would have a better chance of getting a job if I went for engineering. Well meaning but so wrong. A few years after that the gaming industry got bigger than the movie industry, digital art was born, CG matured, the internet made it so much easier to access world class instruction.

    If you're encouraging people not to pursue art because you don't think they could make it in the industry then I weep for your students. Making a living or the thought of a career has never been my motivation for creating. I have something in my mind I want to get out. When it's finished and it's the way I want it is the most satisfying thing in the world. If it gets noticed that's a bonus. I doubt there are any artists who do it for career. History is littered with artists that weren't discovered until they died - if they weren't making money why did they do it?

    Are you so sure of yourself that you know when one of your students has 'talent' or not, that they have no chance of improving ever, that they would never 'get the bug' (teenagers are notoriously lazy if that's the age group you're teaching), that you would tell them all they'll ever have is a small song to sing as you put it. I can tell you that my work rate when I was going through school is a tiny fraction of what I do now. And school is only the start anyway - failing in those early lessons means very little in my experience. I know for a fact employees never look at grades, it's the portfolio they're interested in.

    And I think you should leave off the metaphors, an efficient engine with not much fuel is going to splutter to a stop not far down the road and be passed by the puttering inefficient engine with gallons of fuel - I don't quite understand what you're getting at there.

    And re-engage the child in you, fairy tales do happen.

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    There's no "sides."

    Talent exists.

    Practice exists.

    Putting the two together exists.

    It is not pessimism to say that talent exists. To call that pessimism is to say that the sentence always impliedly reads "Talent exists (and you don't have it, so there)." Accept the fact that not only does talent exist but that it's possible the person being addressed in a particular instance has it.

    I don't see people here saying that there is a magic "talent gift card" given out at birth that creates a class of ubermensch and the rest of us are automatically screwed. Talent and practice are both sliding scales and our life's work is the complicated task of figuring a combination of the two that will get us somewhere we want to go.

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    Quote Originally Posted by b1_ View Post
    And I think you should leave off the metaphors, an efficient engine with not much fuel is going to splutter to a stop not far down the road and be passed by the puttering inefficient engine with gallons of fuel - I don't quite understand what you're getting at there.

    And re-engage the child in you, fairy tales do happen.
    I don't think you are reading my post carefully enough since you are misinterpreting a lot of things, and that includes the metaphor. Quantity of fuel = quantity of talent, as I clearly indicated.

    Regarding fairy tales, they don't happen. That's why they are called fairy tales. None of our lives has a happy ending - a visit to the local cemetery will tell you that. What matters is being fulfilled now. And that means that the doing of something is its own reward, not some idea about being famous and all your dreams coming true. In fact that's the last thing children do. They don't give a damn about what happens when they grow up. Childhood is the one time in our lives when we unselfconsciously live for the present and is why we remember it so fondly. My plea for 'reality' is just that, and is therefore far nearer to engaging with childhood than adolescent dreams.

    But I'm happy to agree to disagree, b1.

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    I believe that natural talent exists but I'm not sure that it needs to extend over everything connected with drawing. Concept art, illustration, comics, animation, storyboards, blabla.., often needs something more than just doing pretty pictures. Someone's highest potential in drawing/painting skills can be mediocre in comparison to talented person but there is also storytelling skills, talent for designing technical stuff, flexibility and other minor abilities that also count. You can make good use of them, find your most suitable path and still be good.

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    "Its a great thing when you find out you are NOT something"-a old man I talked too.

    I believe I can see Bennett's point here. To many kids are inflated with a whole lotta BS, then they grad...and nothing.

    You have to be real about this. Forget "Dare to dream" I don't care who you are, or what dream you have, it means nothing. You suck untill further notice. "Dare to make your dream a reality", ok, now you have a chanse.

    Too many kids get told the first, and ingore that last part. "Work hard to be a good artist" "You will be a great artist if you practice enoughf"
    "etc, etc, etc, You will Become a great artist"

    When the question that ought to be asked more often is "When did you realise that you were an artist?"

    Ask that question on a art campus and watch it stop people dead in thier tracks, and some of the lame half-answers you will get will make you chuckle in your head as you walk away.

    "When you realise that you don't simpley play the violoin, but that you are a voilinist, you can't just simply play with the high school orchestra anymore, you realise that you are different, and you will keep growing with that, and seeking out new challanges to grow on" -Old man I talked Too.

    This is were "talent" seperates the few from the many. There are suckers like me everywere, we just want to draw, just want to do "pretty kewl pictures" to impress our peers, because its "the cool creative thing to do" or just want the "technical skills"

    But there are those who actually feel art, and what it means to them. It speaks to them if you will and they let it consume them, and have a leading role in thier life. That is what you will see with these "talented" individuals. They allow themselfs to suffer for it, because they are that consumed. And that shows in thier work.

    -Vj
    --thoughts from a teenager...

    Edit: ok, so that "suffer for it" is a little extreme...maybe I should have said "starveing artist" but I think you guys get my point. lol.

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    I think my older brother got the hard end of childhood fairy tails. He was always regarded as talented throughout primary and high school, and once he got into college his balls shrank when he finally saw people who could produce much better quality work than he could. He eventually dropped out simply because he was not the best there. I'm constantly reminded of his way of thinking when he tells me to drop out of college because there were people in his class who are better than me. Now he does nothing, and maybe the odd drawing once a month to prove to himself he's an awesome drawer. :/

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    I think my older brother got the hard end of childhood fairy tails. He was always regarded as talented throughout primary and high school, and once he got into college his balls shrank when he finally saw people who could produce much better quality work than he could. He eventually dropped out simply because he was not the best there. I'm constantly reminded of his way of thinking when he tells me to drop out of college because there were people in his class who are better than me. Now he does nothing, and maybe the odd drawing once a month to prove to himself he's an awesome drawer. :/
    My point exactley...

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    Burl- The thing Chris Bennett was saying about talking to a student concerning the scope of his voice is something I wish a good teacher could do for your brother, with the following tweak: Rather than "big" or "small" voice, I might try to talk about directions.

    Larry Walker desperately wanted to be a hockey goalie. A coach, who saw he had talent but might be slightly misdirecting it, was honest that he would never make the big leagues in hockey and should try another sport. He went on to win a National League batting title in baseball.

    It's possible that your brother can find some form of art that his talents hit directly on point, that have nothing to do with the types of work those other students were making. Art money can be made in patent drawings of machine parts. Art money can be made in assemblage pieces composed of found objects (See George Herms). Art money can be made in Sunday paper cartoons. Your brother may just need to see which key he sings best in. That's one of the cool things about practicing different media and styles for a while before settling into a fixed idea of what key and genre you sing in. The horrible thing about talent is that it doesn't come with an instruction manual.

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