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  1. #1
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    Artistic Ability Talent or Skill?

    Do you think think artistic ability is something you're born with or just a skill you can pick up with practice?

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    talent = everyone

    talent + practice = skill

    "The proper rewards are not simply tacked on to the activity for which they are given, but are the activity itself in consummation." -C.S. Lewis
    "Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid." -Proverbs 12:1


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    talent + practice = skill
    Well, what about people turning out technically good work, which is still boring and unintersting and uninspired? I doubt there is much talent involved there.

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    I think of "talent" being much more of a head start. Art I feel is a skill that everyone can learn, some people just start out a little ahead than others. Coordination between eye and hand is a motor skill that people can learn with enough practice.

    [scott]

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    Quote Originally Posted by OSU_Samurai
    Coordination between eye and hand is a motor skill that people can learn with enough practice.
    again, you and expose and Cyrus are referring back to the technical aspect of art. There's more to art than just that

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    a little bit of both.-c36

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    I think some people are better with visual things, including hand/eye coordination and the ability to think spatially; also some people find it easier to be creative ...

    there's a wide range of separate abilties that can combine to be useful in the creation of art, and of course some people will be strong in some or all of them ... that's what I'd call talent, and of course it exists

    but that doesn't mean that less-talented people can't slog along and master what comes more easily to the more gifted artist

    also there's a dark side to talent: it's easy to set your goals too high, to peg your self-esteem to your work, to feel too much pressure too soon and lose the sense of joy in what you're doing ... there are tons of mind-games and traps in the arts

    creativity itself is a strange beast; in a neurochemical sense, it's a bit of an aberration, full of tangents, peculiar patterns and associations -- this loose abilty to throw odd things together (syncretism) can bite you in the ass, which is what gives us the geniuses who can't finish anything because their brains are more like pinball machines than anything ...

    imo a deep love of art and relentless determination are all you need to keep getting better, and it's just a matter of time before you produce decent work

    just a few observations from an old creative flake, lol

    --

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    Some people have a natural talent for art. I'd say everyone does, but then again some people have no apparent artistic ability whatesoever, so I'd say it's easier to assume that not everyone does so that the curve doesn't get dragged down.

    Skill is built on top of whatever talent you have, and those two combined make up your artistic ability.


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    I use this analogy: A piano is a machine. With practice, anyone can learn to operate it. But a only a talented person can make music.

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    Mmm...I dunno anymore...I just work and get paid.

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    I think that within all of us, there is the ability to create. Whether you choose to use your talents or not, it's up to you. There are a lot of outside factors that influence whether you use your artistic talents or not and I think some people will agree with me when I say that family and the process of growing up have a great influence. Some parents cringe at the idea of theit sons/daughters becoming artists and some stop using their abilities because they have to have "real" jobs. Hence so many people go to work everyday hating their jobs and even their lives. Luckily for some of those people, they discover later on in their lives that they do have creative talent, whether is art, photography, crafts, music, etc.
    I also think that drive and determination have a huge role in our artistic talents. Without that, the ability to create art can't grow. Of course, practice goes hand in hand with it.

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    in the immortal words of Wayne Gretzky, "creativity and imagination can't be taught, but they can be fostered".
    they're skills unto themselves.
    talent is just being more prone to comprehending it all.
    ...knowing how to learn more efficiently.

    we all have creativity and imagination and motor skills...so we're all born with artistic ability....but it's absolutely something that must be developed too.

    ....on another note, I really enjoyed that pinball machine brain analogy...cool beans.

    -Rob

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    Quote Originally Posted by Denart
    again, you and expose and Cyrus are referring back to the technical aspect of art. There's more to art than just that
    I couldn't agree with you more. There is that whole thing about creativity that I don't think anyone can really learn or master. I've got people here in my classes that know the details of typography more than I ever will, but they do the same crap with it everytime, never great, never bad, just... boring. Our teachers always try and encourage us to try new things and expierement with our typography, but some people always come back with the same lame stuff.

    I guess after all that ranting about booooooring classmates, my question that I've looped myself back into is:

    Is creativity a skill? Is it something that can be learned? Or do some people just have it, where as others don't?

    I dont think that the skill side can exist without the creative side and vice versa. But enough of this for the night, I've gotta work on my final catalogue...

    [scott]

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    artistic ability, seems to me, to be almost instictive...you can tell this by looking at children's art...when certain pictures stand out from the rest, this seems to be the individual's ability to communicate their ideas successfully to the viewer in an interesting, or unique way....

    ...the fact that this ability can be developed futher is incidental....

    Last edited by jawfish; December 6th, 2004 at 09:57 AM.
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    I see your point Jawfish. My mother was told I would probably be an artist when I got older because I drew a dog with penis(I keen eye on detail is what I think the teacher meant) and thats when I was in kindergarten.

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    Quote Originally Posted by OSU_Samurai
    Our teachers always try and encourage us to try new things and expierement with our typography, but some people always come back with the same lame stuff.
    Experimentation and trying new things is really what creativity is all about.. no one has instantly awesome ideas from birth, the basis of creativity is in knowledge and experience, we can't just make ideas and concepts out of a void of nothingness. Even in learning the technical side we have to challenge our mental preconceptions of how things look - trying new things. I dunno I think really anyone can learn how to create art. With enough experimentation, insight, and refinement eventually they will be able to communicate effectively at least.. maybe what separates artists from the art-nots is that they just have the drive to do it, are willing to face frustrations and failures to find the better ideas, and they never give up. Most people I have met who say they "can't draw" are really not that bad at doodling, it seems they just dont try/want to learn how to draw anything else.

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    A woman who teaches at an atelier in Seattle wrote the following in the Artist's Magazine March 2004:

    "anyone can learn to draw but, like playing the piano, it won't happen overnight and it won't happen without practice. Some artists start with a facility, because they've been drawing since they were children. At my atelier, I see that kind of student and I see the other kind, the ones who lack skills but are determined to try. The second group makes huge gains, while those in the first group seldom take the risks necessary to succeed. The ones who have the discipline to persevere become trained draftsman, capable of mastering the techniques of any medium."

    "...the person who struggles, the person who has to work hard for something, will create more interesting work in the end."

    http://www.aristidesarts.com/Classes...0Aristides.htm

    I am starting later in my life and did not draw as a child, but I have never been more determined in my life - not only to master skill and technique but hone my eye and create beautiful things. Many artist's I respect have told me that it is possible to create with a strong desire. I took a class once from this judging Gestapo type woman and she almost discouraged me beyond repair. But I mustered the desire shortly after her insane class and am now working my ass off at another school with an incredibly encouraging teacher. Who is anyone to say another is talented or not? Isn't art relative? Yes some work is obviously more dynamic than others, but isn't that because of mastered skill?

    I don't know if one exhibits "talent" by drawing as a child, but give me a few years and I will prove that theory wrong!

    Peace

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    How about putting it across in another way.

    Creativity is usually linked to art/music/entertainment because its most easy to see there. What about other trades?


    Engineers need creativity to figure out how to design their electronic boards too...how to fit components and boards into an allocated space (usually an approved outer shell design). Building engineers need to figure out how methods, calculations to construct buildings, bridges, how to build tunnels without disturbing already laid building foundations or ground water systems.

    Even a race car driver such as Schumacher needs some creativity and a lot of daring to make that impossible overtaking manoeuver possible.

    So yeah I think raw talent plays an important part. Just like we can say everyone can learn how to drive, but not everyone can drive like Schumacher.

    Still there's the other element of skill and foundation. Given his full talent, if schumacher wasn't given the advantage of doing it at the top of the game (Formula One in this case) he wouldn't have been able to push his limits and create new records year after year.

    I believe both practice and talent go hand in hand. Talent only counts for so much if the attitude is wrong and the artist has no desire to extend his limits and push to the edge.



    Also there's my other belief....as long as the clients are happy and I get paid....I'm happy. If I'm talented at what I enjoy doing, and I can make a good living out of it...then its the best.

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    I think that the concept of talent is a fabrication people use to excuse themselves from the possiblity, that they are wasting their lives when they could become what they admire if they'd expended the effort.

    After all, what the hell is talent?
    Most people seem to internally hold the beleif that talent is this natural ability to perform a task well. This confuses me though. How is it possible that some among us are born with the natural ability to draw (or play the piano or tell jokes or program in Python or dance real sexy or whatever). Do people really beleive that in the sperm and eggs that formed this person lied the code for recreating mentally derived images via a stick dipped in colored goo? That natural selection has somehow evolved the inate ability to do things like this, but evolved them to occure randomly and only for a tiny group of individuals? How the hell does this seem to be a widely accepted beleif?

    I've never personally observed "creative talent" in my life. I've seen kids internally formulate methods for solving inspecific problems (such as rendering a thought on paper) that happened to be more elegant than others. And I've seen kids that make drawing look easy but I've also seen kids that work to conceal how much effort they put into honing their abilities so that they appear more impressive (it sure as hell isn't hard.) I myself was deemed utterly untalented until I started drawing for hours every afternoon throught my entire highschool career. Now people tell me how talented I am all the time, though each stroke I make has a logicly deduced and understandable modivation behind it. The idea that there's some magical unexplainable thing to art that you either have or don't is blazingly pretentious in my opinion. I think that perhaps some people have luck with them on their artistic journey, but that ability is skill and skill is all their is.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Some_Guy
    Experimentation and trying new things is really what creativity is all about.. no one has instantly awesome ideas from birth, the basis of creativity is in knowledge and experience, we can't just make ideas and concepts out of a void of nothingness. Even in learning the technical side we have to challenge our mental preconceptions of how things look - trying new things. I dunno I think really anyone can learn how to create art. With enough experimentation, insight, and refinement eventually they will be able to communicate effectively at least.. maybe what separates artists from the art-nots is that they just have the drive to do it, are willing to face frustrations and failures to find the better ideas, and they never give up. Most people I have met who say they "can't draw" are really not that bad at doodling, it seems they just dont try/want to learn how to draw anything else.
    ...don't you think that the "will" to pursue that goal, is part and parcel of the "instinct" I mentioned earlier?....

    ...not everyone can be an artist, otherwise everyone would be an artist....

    ...if that makes sense....

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    Here is what I think ^_^

    Talent
    n 1: natural qualities or talents [syn: endowment, gift, natural endowment] 2: a person who possesses unusual innate ability in some field or activity
    Skill
    3. The familiar knowledge of any art or science, united with readiness and dexterity in execution or performance, or in the application of the art or science to practical purposes; power to discern and execute; ability to perceive and perform; expertness; aptitude; as, the skill of a mathematician, physician, surgeon, mechanic, etc.

    4. Display of art; exercise of ability; contrivance; address. [Obs.]

    5. Any particular art. [Obs.]

    Syn: Dexterity; adroitness; expertness; art; aptitude; ability.

    Usage: Skill, Dexterity, Adroitness. Skill is more intelligent, denoting familiar knowledge united to readiness of performance. Dexterity, when applied to the body, is more mechanical, and refers to habitual ease of execution. Adroitness involves the same image with dexterity, and differs from it as implying a general facility of movement (especially in avoidance of danger or in escaping from a difficulty). The same distinctions apply to the figurative sense of the words. A man is skillful in any employment when he understands both its theory and its practice. He is dexterous when he maneuvers with great lightness. He is adroit in the use of quick, sudden, and well-directed movements of the body or the mind, so as to effect the object he has in view.
    Both of these can be gained thru practice it’s the ability to determine what is it you gained, Skill is something you gain and it becomes second nature to accomplish, such as singing, you don’t really have to think about it when you really that damn good at it, you just do it, or such as playing sports, running the football, this of course doesn’t take much of a thought process, I use to do it, look for a hole go for a hole also remembering routes, but also that becomes second nature after a while, painting, drawing, all of which can become second nature, when you see that kid in the corner crap out art that’s awesome and he said “oh, its just from the top of my head” he is not thinking about anatomy or how do you draw fingers, he is using his Skill to put together something he has thought of…

    Talent on the other hand flourishes into Skill over a time, the innate ability, something as a foundation a building block…

    A Prodigy on the other hand is born with a complex knowledge of his innate ability; for instance, a four year olds child first word is cello instead of Mom, or Dad, or after hearing a tune, repeats it on his Ram-a-brick through the hole type play set, or paints, a masterpiece at six, you know what ever, it usually pertains to the Arts, such as Music or Paintings.

    In the end, Talent can always be perceived, and any can say, wow, he is talented, but it something else to be called skilled in a trade, Talent is something that is seen thru interest, something a person wants to pursue in the beginning, oh I want to learn more about science, so you would assume that person has a natural aptitude for science because he shows an interest, so when he tries it, he enjoys it and understands it right off the get go, soon he flourishes his talent into skill, it soon becomes second nature, he knows quantum dynamics or how a car works innately, no prior knowledge is needed anymore, I don’t need a science book to tell me what chemicals mix anymore, that my friend is Skill.

    Therefore ending what I think about Skill or Talent, even thou it went off course.

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    ...you're not, by any chance, into role playing games are you?...

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    Quote Originally Posted by jawfish
    ...don't you think that the "will" to pursue that goal, is part and parcel of the "instinct" I mentioned earlier?....

    ...not everyone can be an artist, otherwise everyone would be an artist....

    ...if that makes sense....
    I dunno, it could be, I don't really think there is an artistic instinct really.. what separates a great artist from a lowly artist is practice, insight, understanding, and their own choice of looks and style.. Everyone's got a pair of eyes, a mind and a set of hands.. I wouldnt put it past anybody to be able to learn anything they set their mind to. If I for some reason was drawn to rocket science/mechanical engineering/etc. and invested as much time into those as I have into art then I would be on my way to making robots or whatever. I or you, or anyone, we could learn all those things but we've chosen a different way.. maybe it is because we naturally have a disposition towards art or spatial thinking, but more important than all that is we have the drive to do it.. and its the same kind of drive we would need to be successful at learning anything we wanted. I dunno it seems kind of silly to think nature slaps us with a job description at birth - saying you'll be an artist, he'll be a carpenter, she'll be a great doctor.. it wouldnt be very good for survival if you were born an artist and didnt have the capacity to learn how to hunt or farm or do anything essential.

    There is a scene in "Waking Life" which is somewhat relevant to all of this where an old man at a bar is asking the questions - Why isnt there any great composers any more, authors, artists, architects, etc ? and then he says the answer to that lies in this question - Whats the most universal human characteristic, fear or laziness?

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    "Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.----Thomas Alva Edison"

    I was reading some quotes today. I do so occassionally to spur me to push harder....so I guess this quotation from Thomas Edison says everything about Talent and Skill for me.

    May not work for everyone else...but it works for me.

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    ...the evidence brought forth by the discovery of cave paintings, proves to us that the seeds of art have existed for such a long time... but it seems to be a pastime that humans alone enjoy. Give a pencil to a dog and it won't try to mark something with it, but it is a common nightmare among young parents that, as soon as they turn their backs, young timmy has scribbled all over the new wallpaper... it is this evidence alone that prompts me to see art as a human instinct, just as the bird instictively needs to learn how to fly in it's earliest years, the human being must learn how to create, build, and invent... in order to maintain the cocoon of human vulnerability...we are after all, just animals...

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    what does Role playing have anything to do with what I said? @_@

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    Jawfish - Ok I can see what you're saying now about the instinct and I agree that it is an instinctual aspect of humanity that we are driven to create. But I dont think that this instinct is something that is limited to artists alone.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Some_Guy
    Jawfish - Ok I can see what you're saying now about the instinct and I agree that it is an instinctual aspect of humanity that we are driven to create. But I dont think that this instinct is something that is limited to artists alone.
    ...well this is it, different people are drawn to different things!!!... and the self same instinct manifests itself through the varying jobs that human beings have to do...I defininitley think that this a genetic thing...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ruptured GasTank
    what does Role playing have anything to do with what I said? @_@
    ...heh, heh... just joking!!!.... when I read your post, it was quite comlicated, it was like when I tried to learn the rules of Dungeons and Dragons as a small child, and I was unable to wrap my tiny walnut sized brain round it!!!...

    ...on further reflection it is a well known fact, that only five people in the world are able to play D&D....

    ...and saying as they sold five games...

    ...every person who is able to play D&D, does play D&D....

    ...and seeing how you are ABLE to play D&D...

    ...I naturally asumed that you DO play D&D...

    ...and are one of the five lucky people who bought Dungeons and Dragons...

    ...

    Last edited by jawfish; December 14th, 2004 at 12:57 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jawfish
    ...heh, heh... just joking!!!.... when I read your post, it was quite comlicated, it was like when I tried to learn the rules of Dungeons and Dragons as a small child, and I was unable to wrap my tiny walnut sized brain round it!!!...

    ...on further reflection it is a well known fact, that only five people in the world are able to play D&D....

    ...and saying as they sold five games...

    ...every person who is able to play D&D, does play D&D....

    ...and seeing how you are ABLE to play D&D...

    ...I naturally asumed that you DO play D&D...

    ...and are one of the five lucky people who bought Dungeons and Dragons...

    ...

    This reminds me of a joke i once heard... stop me if you've heard this one before..

    "there are only 10 types of people in this world, those that understand binary and those who don't"



    [scott]

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