The "you can do it!" thoery, and why i don't believe it.
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    The "you can do it!" thoery, and why i don't believe it.

    “If you work hard every day, you too can be Van Gogh”

    I see many people are very fond of this theory, especially people here on CA. I'm not posting this to scandalize anyone, I'm doing it to attempt to explain why I think it’s false. Call it "speaking my mind".

    By this theory if only 1% of the world’s population is interested in “becoming an artist”, and say half of them work hard and succeed we should have 30 000 000 artist of Dali’s caliber right now. Let’s say half of them don’t get acknowledged and famous due to various circumstances, we should have 15 000 000 of them. Do you have any idea what that would be like? In the worst case scenario, we should have FIFTEEN MILLION artists. But we don’t, in fact I don’t even think we have numbers anywhere close to 1% of 15 000 000, that’s 150000. Maybe we have 1500, MAYBE.

    Chew on those numbers a little bit.

    Add to that:

    a) Probably way more than 1% of the people on this planet are trying to “become artists”
    b) The world didn’t start existing today.

    And you kinda get a feel for just how ridiculous the reality it.

    (Even if you calculate the percentages leaving the populations of developing countries out, you still get similar, mind boggling numbers)

    That is the first issue I have with this theory, it doesn’t mirror reality even remotely. You probably noticed I put “becoming an artist” between quotation marks. That’s the second problem I have with it. Now I shouldn’t even be talking about this because I think I already proved this theory is 100% wrong and it seem to me that the subject of “what is art?” causes greater shitstorms than subjects like religion or abortion. But I’m gonna go ahead and indulge myself anyway.

    To me, the difference between a drawing and art is like the difference between a house and a cathedral, a brick and a sculpture, body building and Muay Boran. Anyone can learn how to build a house, but probably not as many people could “learn” how to build a cathedral. Anyone can master brick casting, but only a few people can be sculptors. Most people can increase the diameter of their biceps thought physical training, but only a small number of people in this world could kill you with a flying knee.

    I guess what I’m trying to say with that is art is much more than just the technical stuff. The ever growing portfolio full of nothing but inane anatomical drawing will get you nowhere. You have to have TALENT. And yes, talent without work is indeed worthless. But more importantly, work without talent is equally worthless.

    I imagine most of the people reading this really hate my guts now.

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    I don't hate your guts.

    I do think your own theory is flawed. You're assuming that everyone who wants to be an artist keeps at it until they achieve their goal. Most people get demotivated, find another career, or something along those lines and quit pursuing it. So I think you really need to reevalute that portion because people don't always actively go after it even if they say they want to.

    But I do agree, it helps to have talent.

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    I think a lot of people who fail say "oh but I have been working hard!", but really they were just being a pussy about it at best. There's almost a madness to the method, it's hard to develop an obsession that doesn't inherently come on pretty fast.

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    Quote Originally Posted by vampire cervix View Post
    Chew on those numbers a little bit.
    I'd rather not, they'd probably taste funny after being pulled out of your ass.

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    Quote Originally Posted by vampire cervix View Post
    a) Probably way more than 1% of the people on this planet are trying to “become artists”
    I don't disagree with your basic premise, but I think even 1% is way too high.


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    Horribly flawed argument indeed.

    However this will probably round down to a semantic discussion on the mean of the word "talent".

    For example:
    Subject A
    Draws like a fiend, he can look at something for a few minutes and then draw it from any angle he chooses...etc.... etc.... (He has "artistic talent")
    However he also lacks motivation and he doesn't like being told what to do; he lacks discipline. (this results in him never becoming a great artist)

    Subject B
    He's ok at art and he enjoys but he's no Da Vinci, yet. (he's got potential but perhaps less "artistic talent" than subject A)
    He does however have the perseverance of a mule and he keeps at it. If something doesn't work for him he tries again, and again, and again. (He eventually becomes a successful artist)

    Now which of these subjects is considered to have the fabled "talent"?

    Is simply the potential for success considered talent? In which case the "you can do it" theory proves true.

    Perhaps it is only upon reaching success that talent can be identified, so in summation subject A lacks the needed discipline and motivation to back up his artistic ablility, and so rending him "not talented"?

    I suppose the truth is there is no way of knowing if you can become a successful artist but there's one hell of a lot of things you can do to increase the chances.

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    yea dude, everybody should think like you . We should try and find more reasons why we can't do things

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    in one year of taking my art seriously, and working much much harder than in years previous, I have seen my skillset expand and improve exponentially. its amazing just how possible things become once you accept that the problem isnt how hard they are, or how small the pantheon of pros is, its you and your own lack of drive. what youre saying sounds grossly similar to obese people sitting around eating cheeseburgers saying 'its a clinical fact, my familys just always been fat'. shut up and get on the treadmill.
    or, just give up entirely.

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    Sorry to say it, but I completely agree. I've seen people here at CA who have gone from not-so-good to amazing, but I firmly believe that's because they had un-nurtured talent.

    I find some people think of talent as a ridiculous magical imaginary thing that doesn't exist, but I think of talent as how the brain works. Some have the ability to see things and put them on paper, just as some can do calculus in their head. It's just how your head works, you cant change it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Smashed_Pumpkin View Post
    Horribly flawed argument indeed.

    However this will probably round down to a semantic discussion on the mean of the word "talent".

    For example:
    Subject A
    Draws like a fiend, he can look at something for a few minutes and then draw it from any angle he chooses...etc.... etc.... (He has "artistic talent")
    However he also lacks motivation and he doesn't like being told what to do; he lacks discipline. (this results in him never becoming a great artist)

    Subject B
    He's ok at art and he enjoys but he's no Da Vinci, yet. (he's got potential but perhaps less "artistic talent" than subject A)
    He does however have the perseverance of a mule and he keeps at it. If something doesn't work for him he tries again, and again, and again. (He eventually becomes a successful artist)

    Now which of these subjects is considered to have the fabled "talent"?

    Is simply the potential for success considered talent? In which case the "you can do it" theory proves true.

    Perhaps it is only upon reaching success that talent can be identified, so in summation subject A lacks the needed discipline and motivation to back up his artistic ablility, and so rending him "not talented"?

    I suppose the truth is there is no way of knowing if you can become a successful artist but there's one hell of a lot of things you can do to increase the chances.
    Both subject A and subject B will fail. Like I said, talent and work are equally important, one is useless without the other. "Without me, my rifle is useless, without my rifle, I am useless". Digging for water is pointless if there's no water there. How many analogies do you want?

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    It's not quite as black and white as that I'm afraid. And if you think it is then you're living in an oddly contrasted world.

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    Too much math on an art forum.

    SECONDS: Do you work from life of photographs?
    FRAZETTA: I work from my head.

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    Quote Originally Posted by vampire cervix View Post
    Both subject A and subject B will fail. Like I said, talent and work are equally important, one is useless without the other. "Without me, my rifle is useless, without my rifle, I am useless". Digging for water is pointless if there's no water there. How many analogies do you want?
    If one becomes a professional how on earth can you claim that that is a failure?

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    vampire, if this shits what you believe, then get off the serious art forums and leave us to our empty dreams and sure-fail procedures.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ardescoere View Post
    If one becomes a professional how on earth can you claim that that is a failure?
    He becomes a painter or "drawer", not an artist. The answer to "what is art?" is conveniently written in the OP.

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    ...lolwut?

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    Quote Originally Posted by vampire cervix View Post
    He becomes a painter or "drawer", not an artist. The answer to "what is art?" is conveniently written in the OP.
    You are not the be all and end all. You don't get to decide whether someone has failed or succeeded in becoming an artist. What you see for yourself, fine. But not for others. And negativity certainly won't bring you towards that cathedral.

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    ...this is one of those "good" (well perhaps not "good", but realistic) ideas that's been really fucked up by a failure to communicate it properly.

    I just look at it this way.

    Yes. Some people cannot become masterful artists. Even with 5x more hard work than the naturally "talented" individual.

    However.

    What ultimately makes this the case, is way too fucking complicated to try and sum it up with bullshit numbers and blanket statements. Some people will never become great (by general definition) at art no matter how hard they try. But the exact reasons and defining qualities to it are far too complex and obscured to us as individuals to be able to tell for certain. It could take 40 years to figure it out. In addition, our "general definition" may not be what everyone is going for.

    Which is why we encourage people to do their best - and can claim without a shadow of a doubt that, if nothing else, hard work will make them better.

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    Vamp, keep going. im loving how many excuses you can make to justify sucking forever.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Two Listen View Post
    ...this is one of those "good" (well perhaps not "good", but realistic) ideas that's been really fucked up by a failure to communicate it properly.

    I just look at it this way.

    Yes. Some people cannot become masterful artists. Even with 5x more hard work than the naturally "talented" individual.

    However.

    What ultimately makes this the case, is way too fucking complicated to try and sum it up with bullshit numbers and blanket statements. Some people will never become great (by general definition) at art no matter how hard they try. But the exact reasons and defining qualities to it are far too complex and obscured to us as individuals to be able to tell for certain. It could take 40 years to figure it out. In addition, our "general definition" may not be what everyone is going for.

    Which is why we encourage people to do their best - and can claim without a shadow of a doubt that, if nothing else, hard work will make them better.
    Amen to that.

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    If there were only fifteen million artists of Dali's skill level or equivalent in their specific artistic discipline, everybody on this board would be employed in the field. There are 6 Billion people on this planet for a start.

    Think about it, if Van Gogh were starting out today he would never become a household name. If he posted on here, he'd be told to do more loomis studies, work on his perspective and to try some other styles.

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    OK, out of curiosity I checked out your posting history. It seems to consist largely of posts saying how much you suck and a sketchbook thread that you deleted most of because you thought it sucked.
    So, what was the point of this thread again?


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    Quote Originally Posted by Henchman 21 View Post
    vampire, if this shits what you believe, then get off the serious art forums and leave us to our empty dreams and sure-fail procedures.
    I didn't make any of this up. This is not a pet idea or something I spontaneously thought about while on the toilet.

    It isn't so much that my arguments are backed up by facts, it's that there's almost no argument there, just the facts. I'm only believing this because that's what reality has told me, so far.

    But seriously, prove me wrong. Where are all the artist? Like i said in the OP, even in the worst possible scenario there should be an enormous number of people up there with Durer or Giger or whatever. So enormous that no human being could remember all their names, so big that you would have to take a vacation from whatever it is that you're doing just to have a quick look at everyone's stuff.

    So where are all these people?

    And please don't say that only a ridiculously small number of people really try hard because we all know lots of damn people give it their best to no effect.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Elwell View Post
    OK, out of curiosity I checked out your posting history. It seems to consist largely of posts saying how much you suck and a sketchbook thread that you deleted most of because you thought it sucked.
    So, what was the point of this thread again?
    To help us all reach the next level. obv.

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    Vamp, you have to stop defending yourself and understand the basic flaw of your argument: your favorite and most respected artists arent everyones. Honestly, I think most of the people on this site working professionally are technically better and more creative than anyone youve listed. I dont care if you disagree, because the difference between us is that I know that thats only my opinion, and not some bullshit standard to hold others up to.

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    Quote Originally Posted by vampire cervix View Post
    It isn't so much that my arguments are backed up by facts, it's that there's almost no argument there, just the facts. I'm only believing this because that's what reality has told me, so far.
    It's not so much that there's a problem with the general idea to your post.

    It's mostly just a problem with you, I think.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Two Listen View Post
    ...this is one of those "good" (well perhaps not "good", but realistic) ideas that's been really fucked up by a failure to communicate it properly.

    I just look at it this way.

    Yes. Some people cannot become masterful artists. Even with 5x more hard work than the naturally "talented" individual.

    However.

    What ultimately makes this the case, is way too fucking complicated to try and sum it up with bullshit numbers and blanket statements. Some people will never become great (by general definition) at art no matter how hard they try. But the exact reasons and defining qualities to it are far too complex and obscured to us as individuals to be able to tell for certain. It could take 40 years to figure it out. In addition, our "general definition" may not be what everyone is going for.

    Which is why we encourage people to do their best - and can claim without a shadow of a doubt that, if nothing else, hard work will make them better.
    Yeah, numbers and facts are bullshit. Optimism and aching hands, THAT'S WHAT IT'S ALL ABOUT!

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    good, now were getting somewhere.

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    Vampire Cervix are you serious? Do you have any concept of what being an artist in this day and age is about? Have you even thought about the industries in which artists work? Do you even have any idea what an artist is?

    Because by the sounds of it you're describing unicorns, because that I will agree with you on. Vastly more than 1% of the earths population wanted to be a unicorn when they grew up but that sadly did not come to be.

    WHERE THE **** ARE ALL THE UNICORNS!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by vampire cervix View Post
    Yeah, numbers and facts are bullshit. Optimism and aching hands, THAT'S WHAT IT'S ALL ABOUT!


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