Talent... a lie?
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    Talent... a lie?

    First I want to clarify I am not disproving the existance of talent. This site is a living proof of it, a lot of great artists here. Talent as means of being able to learn easier and create amazing things is undisputable.

    What I want to disprove is the common belief that if you don't have talent you fail (magical talent). There is a veil of mysticism on drawing, were it is believed that if you don't have talent you are going to fail no matter what, as an unmodifiable level of skill that you are born with.

    Most good artist when asked how they draw so well they tend to respond with "talent" or "I don't know I just draw" or similar. Giving the ilusion that they never had to learn anything composition/proportions/light/ anatomy. That they simply took a pencil and they magically knew all this things just for being "talented"

    Many people get discouraged (I was one of them) becuase they aren't able to make good art on the spot.

    Some artist tend to make you believe that if you don't weren't born "magical"talent you are screwed. In return people tned to praise them as gods. This increases their ego and makes them feel special. But it doesn't help potential newbies. If they had to take a lot of work to get were they are now. Why they lie and make you believe it was effortless for them?. Easier? sure efortless? no.

    The few artists (like this site) that tell us that with effort you can be a great artist too are like prometheus stealing the fire of the gods and giving us hope that one day even us newbies may one day reach the stars. If we work for it(and boy does it cost a lot of work), and for that I am thankful.

    This talent is a lie, as I am sure that each and everyone of you. Even the talented had to work a lot to get to where you are and you will need a lot of work to get where you want to be.

    Take for example Antonio Salieri, less talented than Mozar. But that didn't stopped him to become a good musician.

    This fake talent, this lie is what discourages a lot of people and in return they never try to learn to draw becase their first drawings werent as great a they wanted, and believe that drawing skills are static.That's why I believe this idea of talent is harmful. I for one don't any have talent But that isnt going to stop me to be a good artist. In fact my lack of talent will make me prouder than those that had it easier than me.

    Last edited by FallenLegend; August 20th, 2011 at 11:57 PM.
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    Read Art & Fear.

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    Well talent really means that it is easier for some people to acquire knowledge (on any given field) and applied on real the world environment, but for that talent to flourished hard work is also necessary. It doesn't mean that people with talent are above others, they are just a few steps ahead, but they can still be caught up with by working hard and never giving up.

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    attending art-school, I also found out another thing about talent. It does exist, there are people who have faculty above a lot of other people, regardless of their prior experience and teaching, Some people just seem to have "what it takes" I guess.

    But more often than not that means they have faculty in a certain aspect of drawing. One person may be very good in judging proportions and value, to copy what they see accurately (some people really have better eyes than others, more patience and more sensibility)
    Another person just naturally seems to be able to master his materials, make clean lines and clear values and every mark is spot on,
    Another has the ability to communicate visually very well, fill his or her pictures with emotion and clarity that seem to immerse the viewer above a technical level.
    Another has a strong affinty to create interesting concepts, having a never-ending flow of ideas and just interesting things to say.
    Another has an organized and analytical mindset, is able to boil down the picture-making progress into manageable problems and do the same with the learning activity.
    Another just seems to have a design-sense that is spot and a personal visual language that instantly appeals and just looks natural.
    Another is a hard worker that can draw every second of his day without getting tired or bored with it and has the ability to be inspired and motivated all the time.
    Another is just damn lucky, makes happy accidents all the time and just shits out blossoms and pebbles of gold everywhere he goes.

    The list can go on and on, but everyone's different, right? Drawing is an ability so human that you can't help having some sort of affinity to it. You always have a strong point, it's just a pity that your own talents more often than not seem to be less significant than the talents of the one beside you.

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    Yes and no. I agee with Faust here. Drawing is complex thing that involves many smaller skills.

    What I'd like to add is that there are many branches of art and design that involve much more than just pure drawing skills. For example to be good architect you need good sense of space but there are also research skills, sense of proportion, communication skills, analytical multiple-perspective thinking, computer skills, knowledge of past, present and future technologies, knowledge of actual trends in design, abstract thinking and intuition, basic knowledge of psychology and sociology, and many other things. This is why in most cases architects reach their full potential and win awards at very late age. It's impossible to have talent in all these things at once so there is really no natural born architects. Just ones with and without experience.

    I believe that even if you don't have huge talent for just pure mechanical drawing then you can try to embrace something much bigger. Something where you can counterbalance your lack of natural talent with experience in areas other people wouldn't even think of. Devote many years on this without looking at what everybody else is doing and in the end all those small experiences will make a huge difference. In the end it will be like comparing person who just draws nice girls with someone who art directed twenty games/movies and can create complex, visually consistent believable worlds from scratch.

    Last edited by Farvus; August 21st, 2011 at 07:15 AM.
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    Personaly I think that talent is the ability to not give up and keep pushing no matter what.

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    Maybe it's just me but I really don't like the word 'talent'. It often implies lack of effort, that an artist got to where they are only because they were dealt a better hand in life, that their artistic progression was somehow a bed of roses.

    Last edited by crossmirage; August 21st, 2011 at 08:07 AM. Reason: nevermind the thing about buying A&F
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    I don't believe in it at all. Sure, there may be people who 'found the answers easier than others', but my belief is that those occurrences are completely circumstantial. It's nothing to do with being 'gifted' or not, but just having a different and more tunnel-vision focused way of thinking AND doing.

    Something like that can indeed be taught or learnt, which makes this 'talent' myth pretty much moot as far as I'm concerned. Not only that, but it's stupid to even think of 'talent' when comparing yourself to another individual. It achieves nothing but either putting them or yourself down, or both.

    Which brings me to this:

    First I want to clarify I am not disproving the existance of talent. This site is a living proof of it, a lot of great artists here.
    This is the sort of thing that I don't like about the word 'talent'. It's too vague, and people use it when they really don't need to- like you just did D: People have got to where they are without an 'innate gift', its as simple as that.

    Last edited by MightyApplejacks; August 21st, 2011 at 08:49 AM.
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    I do believe that there are rare people who do have innate talent. Picasso painted this at fourteen, for example, which anyone would have to admit is pretty unusual. However, anyone that prodigious is, as I said, rare, and shouldn't be discouraging to the 99% of the rest of us who aren't churning out gorgeous paintings before we even hit puberty. One could even make the argument that someone who works extra hard to reach that same point will have an added appreciation and understanding of his or her own work than somebody who just farted out gold from birth.


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    Well, it is easier to say "this person must have lots of talent" if you have no idea how much work they have done. Most of the time when I see people telling someone they're talented, they do not know that the said artist has spent eight hours per day for the past four years doing life drawing and studying art, they just seem to assume that the artist is just talented to be able to draw/paint like that. Possibly because they have no access to the actually crappy art and those thousands of papers that are filled with practice works.

    So no, I don't really believe in "talent" in art. People do have their strong points (that can also be developed by upbringing/practice even if you don't know about it) and people also have their weak points and despite the strong points being helpful, they alone won't really make that much difference to the average joe. Okay, it just really peeves me when people whine "oh I have no talent, pity me" when basically they're in the same situation as 99,9% of other people and could fix that problem with hard work. But that would also require them to admit that they haven't done as much work as they could have.

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    Watching and listening to Greg Manchess talk about 'talent' is very interesting. He has some strong opinions and thoughts about talent and learning. Although he doesn't talk about it at length in this interview, he touches upon what he has spoken about at the Illustration Master Class. Worth listening to, if only to hear Manchess anyway...

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    Yeah, Aly... that was an awesome talk and, for the most part, I agree with Manchess.

    However, I do believe in talent... but, maybe not the way that most non-artist think of it (as mentioned by others in this posting). For me, talent really means that the person has an innate ability (as littlebones said) for a particular facet in art. This doesn't mean that it comes easily. It just means that it comes easier/faster to them than to others.

    For example, some people can see a person's nose and pick out various colors in the nose without any training. They can see some hints of pinks, reds, maybe even blues, etc. However, another person looks at the nose and can only see the overall skin color. They can't see the various sub-shadings of colors. After training, they can see it. It's just that the person who had "talent" in terms of getting the nose color's right just happen to be able to see the colors more easily.

    So, I view talent more along the lines of having the ability to see something/do something a bit faster, initially, than someone else. But, as every artist knows, talent that non-artist's see is mainly due to a LOT and LOT of work. There is no easy path.

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    Quote Originally Posted by littlebones View Post
    I do believe that there are rare people who do have innate talent. Picasso painted this at fourteen, for example, which anyone would have to admit is pretty unusual. However, anyone that prodigious is, as I said, rare, and shouldn't be discouraging to the 99% of the rest of us who aren't churning out gorgeous paintings before we even hit puberty. One could even make the argument that someone who works extra hard to reach that same point will have an added appreciation and understanding of his or her own work than somebody who just farted out gold from birth.
    But you have to remember that Picasso's father was a painter and a teacher of art and started Picasso's training at the age of seven. So he was immersed in art all of his life and had great training as well. So at 14 he already had 7 years of training. I know many of us would be able to create damn good paintings if we trained with master artists for 7 years and spent every waking moment around art and artists. So he might have been able to pick it up easily but it was guidance that helped him along.

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    It's complicated.


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    I'm going to say this once, then I'm never coming back in this thread again.

    Nearly everyone is born with the ability to sing, write, dance, and execute some form of visual arts. Most people lose it very early because they don't build on it, or practice, mainly because they become defensive about their early self-perceived "amateur" attempts, and quit so as not to embarrass themselves. Others have it destroyed because of peer and family pressures to not become a "f*gg*t" or weird, be athletic in "approved" sports or perform in "proper" gender roles, or because of the fact that people who study or are curious are humiliated because they "think they're sooOOOOooo smart" or uppity brainy troublemakers.

    Basically, if others see you as better than they are in some skill/area/non-gender-related field, they automatically set out to destroy you and bring you down to below their level. That's why the "smart" kids are bullied and hated in school, little boys are humiliated and harassed if they want to learn serious dance or cooking, and why women are in short supply in the worlds of mathematics, science, engineering, and architecture. Period. People are pigs who don't like people who aren't as stupid or lazy as they are, or who don't DO what they think is "proper." Second period.

    There is...IS...such a thing as talent. It's real. It exists in all creative fields (including the sciences). No amount of whining, arguing, or pitchfork-supported cries of "witchcraft," elitism, etc., is going to make it go away. The proof of it is all around you every day. Without talent (whatever it is), civilization and history would not exist as we know it.

    As I said in the first paragraph, EVERYONE is born with these primitive seeds of "talent," but only those who recognize it and nurture it in spite of pressure to "grow up," will ever develop the desire to IMPROVE that talent, with extreme amount of practice, education, and sheer will power. Snapping your fingers won't help. Claiming such a thing doesn't exist won't help. Killing everyone who disagrees with you won't help. All it takes is work, and some common-sense thinking.

    And keep in mind that if you start later to develop the newly recognized "talent" you do have, you can become very successful at whatever it is you want to do, but it might take longer because you've passed your maximum learning time--you're older and set in your ways, so you have to first unlearn a lot of useless shit you thought was important before.

    Results come from curiosity, positive effort and a positive "don't fail" attitude, all with a lot of practice and hard work. Ignoring facts right in front of you gets you shit and 20¢ for a $5.00 cup of bad coffee.

    Last edited by Ilaekae; August 21st, 2011 at 12:53 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by GuruGaia View Post
    But you have to remember that Picasso's father was a painter and a teacher of art and started Picasso's training at the age of seven. So he was immersed in art all of his life and had great training as well. So at 14 he already had 7 years of training. I know many of us would be able to create damn good paintings if we trained with master artists for 7 years and spent every waking moment around art and artists. So he might have been able to pick it up easily but it was guidance that helped him along.
    That's a very good point. He may have been predisposed, but nobody's going to suck after that much training.


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    Talent definitely exists. However, this is a small segment of what Harley Brown wrote about it in his book "Eternal thruths for every artist":

    Your greatest obstacle isn't skill... it's attitude

    As a professional artist, I've met countless people who will say, 'I'd love to be an artist, but I have no talent". Without underestimating the value of talent, it's not the most important attribute you need to become a successful artist. It's not even second. More important than talent is desire - the willingness to take the time and make the effort to paint and paint and paint until painting becomes almost second nature.
    But most important of all is attitude - which is not only the way you approach your art, but how you view yourself.
    The book is full of other valuable information, too.

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    I'll go with Lord M, more or less.

    The only real talent is the ability to fully commit yourself to what you want to do. Even if it isn't, if you have that, you're set.

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    Talent is a good start. The rest is hard work.

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    Art Talent is the ability to synthesize experienced information into poetic visual abstractions without compromising either the substance or the essence of the originals.

    1/2 sensitivity and memory
    1/2 synthetic creativity & abstraction abilities

    Although I could be wrong.

    The existence of talent is denied for only four reasons:
    1. An art teacher wants to assist art students in getting over psychological hurdles to improvement.
    2. An art student's brain has figured out how to assist itself in getting over a psychological hurdle to improvement.
    3. An art teacher wants to keep an obviously untalented student in class in order to keep his money coming in.
    4. Someone who doesn't know anything about the subject is looking for attention as a humanitarian egalitarian by denying any kind of hierarchy of ability among humans.

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    In art talent refers to the ability to make discoveries and to think new things. A mediocre artist with no talent is someone who's whole style is grafted from a superficial awareness of other artists inventions.

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    There are probably people who are talented at (INSERT HERE), yet they never discovered their talent or they discovered it but never cared for it.

    My view is would you want a surgeon who is talented but not very skilled, or the surgeon with skill under his belt, and a encyclopedic knowledge of the human body?

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    I personally, have no idea what 'talent' is. I've never met a person that was good at something and didn't work hard to get good at what they do. It's not really that their talented so much as that they love something enough they know it'll get them somewhere.

    So, if anything I'd say "talent" is just love and confidence about that ya do. :3

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    Hoo, yeah. There's such a thing as talent. You'll know it if you ever see it at work.

    But talented people sometimes fail where less talented people succeed. Talent is one component. There are many others (including luck!).

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    I love the below quote from the Bible. even though it's about money, I tend to think of it about a person's ability. You don't waste anything, even if I did fall foul of this.

    The Parable of the Talents

    Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. So also, the one with the two talents gained two more. But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.

    After a long time, the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. “Master,” he said, “you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.”

    His master replied, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!”

    The man with the two talents also came. “Master,” he said, “you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.”

    His master replied, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!”

    Then the man who had received the one talent came. “Master,” he said, “I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.”

    His master replied, “You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.

    “Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”



    I didn't think it was possible to be called an artist when you have nothing to say. It's like being a writer who publishes individual words as books and expects to be praised for it.
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  42. #26
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    It's a case of nature versus nurture. A man who is born with savant autism is born with certain talents. A normal man who practices can acquire certain talent.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kev ferrara View Post
    3. An art teacher wants to keep an obviously untalented student in class in order to keep his money coming in
    That's assuming that it's ever obvious that a person is 'lacking in talent' in an area.

    Okay, let's just say it does 'exist'. However, with it being so primitive, it's never important enough to 'validate' (unless you're interested in the finer points of genetics etc), and thus is pointless to ever seriously discuss in the first place.

    It also leads to retarded elitism. There I said it

    Also, peoples' use of the word 'talent', rather than the existence of it, is what I have a real issue with (so I guess I'll concede with the whole 'existence being not a lie', even though in my eyes it might as well be, judging from how unimportant it really is). When people say things like 'to be this good, you have to be talented at it'. That's nonsense. What if it turned out you were 'talented' at something else, but you preferred drawing? Does 'talent' even mean anything then? Hardly.

    Lastly, considering that it's not even a tangible thing, it's very difficult to discern its existence or lack thereof. So denying its existence is hardly a stupid thing to do. I'd like to think it was the smart thing, because then people wouldn't be measuring their existence against someone else, ironically due to something they can't even measure in the first place. Logic...!

    Last edited by MightyApplejacks; August 21st, 2011 at 07:14 PM. Reason: clarifying
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    MightyApplejacks; funny how the conclusion kind of reads like "It's a communication issue".

    And it's funny because, if you look at life closely, communication is the issue nearly a hundred percent of the time

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  46. #29
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    MightyApplejacks, that's a pretty empirical view.

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    Welp, if there's no talent then you'd better work hard or else you won't get anywhere and if there is then you'd still better work hard because you might waste it if you don't. So work hard and believe whatever lets you sleep at night.

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