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  1. #121
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    Talent?

    So, people were being born to play the violin before the violin was invented?


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  3. #122
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    No, but people have always been born with varying degrees of fine motor control, manual dexterity, pitch, memory..the things that go to make a superlative violin player.

    If you can grasp the concept for basketball players, why not for watercolor painters?
    I was once on the receiving end of a critique so savagely nasty, I marched straight out of class to the office and changed my major (sketchbook).

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  5. #123
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    When I was 5 years old I was drawing in full blown perspective: trains coming towards you, ships with one sail behind the other, NOT drawing a blue line at the top of the paper to represent the sky and my sun was hidden behind clouds, not a yellow disk with lines sticking out of it.

    I didn't work harder at it than my fellow 5 year olds. My stuff was in a completely different league. I was talented.

    But I wasn't any kind of artist.
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  7. #124
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    While I don't dismiss the idea of talent, I just dismiss the idea of people obsessed over it.

    I know we can list some successful artists doing extraordinary things at a young age. However, we also had many forgotten news stories of children that had some talent and never spoken of again unless it's some kind of VH-1 type special of "Where are they now?"

    Talent seems to be the excuse of those who don't want to do the hard work, and in the end even if a person had a talent, it becomes indistinguishable to someone who was successful through hard work.

    I don't believe that talent is necessarily predisposition towards a certain field, or act. I know people who still love to draw even if they're not successful as other counterparts. Nor does talent alone automatically make you a success.

    It only irritates me when people use the word talent as such, and not realize it's hard work. It's still hard to get many concepts in art, it's still a lot of mistakes. But that also goes into Art & Fear where; most of us are concerned with our process in making a piece, but the audience is mostly concerned with the result. So there's always going to be that disconnect. Even with other artists.

    So no, it's great that Jimmy can play the violin at 5 a bit better than his classmates...but what does it mean when he's 20 and will he still be doing this will his talent actually get him somewhere?
    Last edited by Arshes Nei; August 22nd, 2011 at 02:27 PM.

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  9. #125
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Bennett View Post
    When I was 5 years old I was drawing in full blown perspective: trains coming towards you, ships with one sail behind the other, NOT drawing a blue line at the top of the paper to represent the sky and my sun was hidden behind clouds, not a yellow disk with lines sticking out of it.

    I didn't work harder at it than my fellow 5 year olds. My stuff was in a completely different league. I was talented.

    But I wasn't any kind of artist.
    That's awesome. My story is the opposite, 20 years and I still have much to learn but I won't let that to stop me.
    Check out my NEW NEW NEW SKETCH BOOK and my Constantly updated deviant art too! (Don't forget to critique both! I am very eager to learn)

    "There is a right way and an easy way". I am here to do things the right way .

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  10. #126
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    Quote Originally Posted by legendarysonofgod View Post
    That's awesome. My story is the opposite, 20 years and I still have much to learn but I won't let that to stop me.
    But the moral of my tale is this:

    From the age of about 9 to 15 I just drew and painted when I was at the art lesson in school. In my spare time I climed trees, kicked footballs, made go-karts and started taking an interest in girls. From 15 to 22 I did practically nothing art wise since I took a degree in engineering.

    Then one day, during yet another weekend spent in a hotel room on attachment with a company and sitting on my hotel bed, I made a drawing of my shoes lying on the floor...

    "Why the fuck am I throwing this talent away" I thought. I started drawing regularly and within a year I had quit engineering and was filling supermarket shelves to raise the money to get into art school.

    NOW. The important point about all this is that my abilities when I drew that shoe at 22 were no more advanced than when I left off drawing at 15.

    So clearly practice is a HUGE factor in this business of being any good at something.
    But talent is the supercharger. It's the compression on the gunpowder.
    Last edited by Chris Bennett; August 22nd, 2011 at 03:50 PM.
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  12. #127
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    "
    Mr. Fox: Here we go. Mole! Talpa Europea! What d'you got?
    Mole: I can see in the dark.
    "


    Humans definitely have a variety of natural abilities... we are not all made the same.

    I would add that for me "talent" made me lazier. Growing up and being generally better than my peers at drawing made me think that's all there was to it. When it didn't take much effort to copy something fairly accurately, the hard work involved with growth beyond that came as a bit of a shock. Something I'm still pushing through really.

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  14. #128
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    Quote Originally Posted by kev ferrara View Post
    I know talent when I see it.

    So do most professionals.... They may not be able to articulate what exactly talent is, as I've attempted to do (somewhat facetiously) in my post, but they can detect it from a mile away. The overwhelming percentage of art students are weak on the talent front, in my opinion, so real talent stands out like an emerald on a plate of bread crumbs.

    I was at the Norman Rockwell museum a few weeks ago for the Blue Sky presentation. The guys from that company said that it was really rare that they looked at a decent demo reel that showed talent. They said they knew within seconds of beginning the reel if the person had talent or not. I asked them, what was it that gave away in seconds whether the applicant was "talented" or "weak." They said it was, paraphrasing here, "fresh acting choices." Almost immediately, they could tell if somebody had an art brain that could generate ideas of its own, instead of relying on hand-me-downs.

    When I was an art director at a small ad agency, I saw mostly books filled with junk. I began to postulate that most creative people who were out of work were out of work for a reason.

    Intelligence and personality inform talent to a large degree. I can tell just by looking at someone's artwork how intelligent they are. What kind of mind they have. The talent level. The work ethic. Art is phenomenally revealing, I believe.

    Talent is worth discussing because pinpointing what it is can explain quite clearly the extent of craft... one's limitation, where talent and craft intermix... or where craft boosts talent, or corrects for over-intellectualization, etc.

    Not to sound like some authority on the topic, or whatever, but I'm sure I'm not the only one peeking in on this thread that was able to draw photo-realistically from an object sitting on a table at 14 years old or so. Or was always able to imagine vividly even from an early age. This was in contradistinction to all my friends who also drew, but couldn't do the same.
    I know what you're saying and I mostly agree, but how could you possibly tell if someone who is beginning art has talent or not? Their choices can't be informed well because they know so little about art, surely they couldn't make fantastic poses or interesting compositions/stories because they don't even know the basics. Would it then be more reasonable to study talent based off of improvement? Because that would actually be more of a mix of work ethic and intelligence.

    And you drew photo-realistically at the age of 14? Holy crap! Props to you! (I'm not being sarcastic, that's good). But what about Mindcandyman? His stuff now is fantastically realistic and well done, but even a couple years into his studies at an older age he wasn't drawing photo-realistically. His improvement was fantastic, but do you think he wasn't as talented as you because he couldn't just start off drawing realistically super fast?

    I think that talent would be a harder thing to determine. It couldn't be as black and white as most people make this out to be. Some people seem to constantly improve, others have spikes of improvement, some people are less intelligent than others and surely that factors into it. And work ethic also factors into the rate of improvement and well done work, does it not? It seems like it would be really hard to narrow it down, because even if you could tell if the person in question was talented, 'fresh acting choices' is still a personal opinion and not really a determination of objective talent (aptitude).

    You also said you can tell someone's intelligence by looking at their art, but if you were to look early on at Mindcandyman's art or someone related to that improvement, would you be able to tell if they were talented or smart?

    But I agree that art is quite revealing, depending on how many years someone has been at it and giving it their best work ethic.

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  16. #129
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aly Fell View Post
    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...

    SIDEBAR INTERVIEW WITH GREG MANCHESS
    I agree with Aly. Awesome talk!

    It's unfortunate that particular lecture isn't available outside the Illustration Master Class.

    I think a lot of people in this thread would completely reconsider their views on the existence of 'talent' after they heard Greg Manchess speak on it. I did.

    He goes into a lot of detail on how the brain learns a task on the cellular level as well as why guys like Mozart might be considered 'talented' when that's not really the case. -- I'm not doing it justice, but it really is an excellent lecture.

    I feel very lucky that some of my first art and music teachers were ones who didn't believe in talent and said anyone could learn if they wanted to. I was well into my stubborn teens before I met one of the "this isn't your talent" ones.

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  18. #130
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    Kev's just beat me to it. But I can add a little to what he's already put so well:

    It seems to me that talent is not so genre specific as is often assumed.
    It only seems that way because of the path it takes to leak out of an individual. i.e. If you're tone deaf, a particular tunnel leading to an outlet in music will remain blocked to it.

    What we think of as 'talent' is really something to do with the ability to see connections between things processed at a deep abstract level. And this ties in with what I think Kev is referring to when he was talking about its relation to intelligence.

    'Talent', or more accurately, 'species of intelligence', operates independantly of the means to express it. But it can only be communicated by a means.

    This intelligence or 'talent' is really an inbuilt propensity to take life's input into the organism and orchestrate it. But the evidence of it within an individual will depend on an outside agency, a transducer which is contingent on the physical characteristic of the individual:

    So if you are 'talented' but tone deaf, unmotivated, can't process shapes as equivalents to observational experience... but very sociable; you will probably find you are a big success at parties. This is because 'talent' has found a way out of least resistence: People find you witty, 'in tune' with them and possessing the ability to gather up the mood of the situation at any instant and turn it always to advantage.
    Last edited by Chris Bennett; August 22nd, 2011 at 05:50 PM.
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  20. #131
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    The world isn't fair. Everybody is better at some things than at other things. Some people are better at some things than other people are. Some people are much better at some things than most people are.

    So...

    What are you going to do about it?

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  22. #132
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    Ilaekae you're a solid, solid man. That's a great explanation of talent.

    The main point is guys. Why let something that no one can prove stop you from trying?

  23. #133
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    If we replaced the word "talent" with "aptitude" what would happen? Would we even be discussing what "aptitude" is?

    Nah, probably not. They forgot to sprinkle that word with pixie-dust because it goes hand-in-hand with practice and effort...

  24. #134
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    Kennygeeze - Ha ha... need I mention 'myelin sheathing'? In point of fact, I don't necessarily agree with everything Greg said, but he put his points well, with the first hand research to back it up. Personal experience suggests certain people have an 'aptitude' for particular disciplines and skills. But aptitude, or 'talent' if you so wish, is the raw material some people have that has to be refined and built upon to develop into something rather special. As AndreasM puts it so more succinctly: "Talent is a good start. The rest is hard work."

    Edit: Alesoun- you got 'that' word in first!

  25. #135
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    Quote Originally Posted by alesoun View Post
    If we replaced the word "talent" with "aptitude" what would happen? Would we even be discussing what "aptitude" is?

    Nah, probably not. They forgot to sprinkle that word with pixie-dust because it goes hand-in-hand with practice and effort...
    I take your point. But aptitude and talent are not the same thing.

    In terms of the metaphor in my last post; 'aptitude' is the facility possessed by the individual to enable 'talent' to show itself.
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  27. #136
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    So, Chris, if "aptitude" is the springboard for talent, isn't it the bedrock for developing skills? Perhaps without "aptitude" talent simply wouldn't exist.... which just might make aptitude more important than talent. Maybe it's the skeleton that prevents an artist of any description resembling a jellyfish when they practise their skills

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    Quote Originally Posted by alesoun View Post
    So, Chris, if "aptitude" is the springboard for talent, isn't it the bedrock for developing skills? Perhaps without "aptitude" talent simply wouldn't exist.... which just might make aptitude more important than talent. Maybe it's the skeleton that prevents an artist of any description resembling a jellyfish when they practise their skills
    Talent seems to be a more intuitive approach to art, where as aptitude is the technical aspect of applying what you have gathered effectively. I think when they feed off of each other equally you get great artists like the old masters. Pieces that endure on museum walls.

  29. #138
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    Quote Originally Posted by alesoun View Post
    So, Chris, if "aptitude" is the springboard for talent, isn't it the bedrock for developing skills? Perhaps without "aptitude" talent simply wouldn't exist.... which just might make aptitude more important than talent. Maybe it's the skeleton that prevents an artist of any description resembling a jellyfish when they practise their skills
    That's exactly it.
    Except for one thing. Your question of relative importance and how the existence of talent might depend on aptitude.

    You've practically answered this question anyway in your skeleton analogy.

    Aptitude is like a bridge. And there are as many bridges as there are skills. Without the bridge the spirit can't get across and become a body; the 'talent' can't become a realised language.

    The spirit without a body is nothing. The bridge with no one to cross it is just so much dead wood.
    They need each other.
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  30. #139
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    So 'talent', or 'species of intelligence', is formless, possesses no face, no body. Yet it is vital. A vitality of meaningful possibility.

    It is not drawing or playing the piano or telling jokes or writing books or directing films or managing men...
    Those are aptitudes. Those are the bridges.

    What begins its journey across comes from the same land. Always. It is only after crossing that it takes on a form. And that form depends on the bridge. Not that which crossed it.
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  32. #140
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    Not sure where I stand on this but I have a story to share like many others in this thread.

    When I attended art college very few of the teachers took the time to explain in detail what they were trying to explain to the class. Most of the time they simply ignored me and answered questions from the people next to me. When they walked around our desk they always looked the other way with my work, because I needed more help then the other students.

    Eventually the teachers took me aside and said that I didn't have the genes to do anything art related and that's the reason why they never bothered to answer my questions during class. At the end of the year I had to put all of my effort into trying to bring up my Art History and Writing & Lit because I spent to much time with my art assignments, when I took the time to study the other two subjects my art classes dropped one, two letter grades and I couldn't pass.

    At the end of the year and when I was packing up one of those same teachers who said I didn't have the genes advised me to try and go to a regular college and see if I couldn't find something else to do.

    For the past two years now I've been lurking ConceptArt.org and plenty of other sites in order to teach myself how to "art" and I still don't know what I'm doing but I've learned a whole lot more then what I did at that college.

    Maybe I don't have the genes but it sure as hell not going to stop me from enjoying something I like to do and would like to make it a career out of it.
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  34. #141
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    This http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/ar...-just-mad.html was in the paper this weekend. Not a definition, just a poignant story (I think anyway).

    So much in life is subjective...

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  36. #142
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    http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortu...1794/index.htm

    Tip sheet the article gives:
    1. Approach each critical task with an explicit goal of getting much better at it.
    2. As you do the task, focus on what's happening and why you're doing it the way you are.
    3. After the task, get feedback on your performance from multiple sources. Make changes in your behavior as necessary.
    4. Continually build mental models of your situation - your industry, your company, your career. Enlarge the models to encompass more factors.
    5. Do those steps regularly, not sporadically. Occasional practice does not work.
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  38. #143
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    I just don't think about talent because it would be futile. I know that I don't have even the smallest scrap of it (if possible, I would have a negative amount), so thinking about talent and how much faster other people can improve compared to me only gets me depressed and makes me feel like I'm destined for failure. When I do think about it, I try to think about how rewarding it will be for me when I finally struggle through and break past mediocrity and become a good artist, and how much more it will mean to me than to someone who had improvement come easily. I would love to be talented, but I'm not, so all I can do is give it my best knowing that when I finally succeed, my success will be more hard-won and more meaningful than it ever would be if I had talent.

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    I agree with crossmirage ... If someone told me I was talented, I would kind of see that as an insult, since it neglects the fact that I simply draw->work a lot.

    Of course I would be kind enough not to respond with anything cocky, but I would think "yeah... of course, it just fell into my hands..."

    I do believe something like talent exists, but no one manages to reach a certain level with talent only (well maybe except that autism dude who draws cityscapes after flying over them in a helicopter... can we call that talent?). Most of it is pure dedication and love for what you do and lots of hard work.

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    tal·ent

    noun /ˈtalənt/ 
    talents, plural

    - Natural aptitude or skill
    * - he possesses more talent than any other player
    * - she displayed a talent for garden design
    Natural aptitude. There are people who are inherently better at stuff than others. Now you can argue over "natural aptitude" all you want (where the aptitude comes from, if you're born with it or just pick it up along the way) the fact of the matter is that some people "get" certain things, skills, easier than others.

    Don't think that's at all arguable?

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    Obviously everyone agrees that talent is NOT some magical gift heaven drops in your laps and suddenly you are able to do awesome art. But I'd say talent is more of a natural inborn potential, the good ideas you have in your head and the longing in your heart to make art, and not just any art but good art. All artists have this to some extent, that's why they became artists in the first place .. some give up easily, some only keep to a hobby, and some I guess go crazy with it and forget to shower for months. But you have to admit, artists have something that ordinary people do not have. whether it be 'having an eye' for things or just a pure love for art. Are you born with 'talent' or is it the amount of work you put in? is there a difference between talent and aptitude? to me it does not matter, they're merely words and labels. You're here now as you are, just do what you love to do.
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  43. #147
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    It's important to distinguish only in so far as it helps us to answer people's qustions and be clear what we are talking about.

    Saying to someone, "I really don't think you're cut out to do this" needs to be precise in what we are referring to so that feelings are not unecessarily hurt.
    I distinguish between talent and aptitude in order to define what I mean by a 'species of intelligence' that transduces into different genres of artistic expression depnding on the individual.
    Unfortunately we do not have a word for that. So 'talent' has to do.
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  45. #148
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    I personally think talent is a lot rarer then people think. It does exist, in my opinion.

    Take Pablo Picasso, aged around 16 he applied for an art school in Barcelona and was turned down because there was nothing they could teach him he had talent to observe what he saw and re create it in his own methods and style.

    Now talent doesn't mean that you will become something. I have a little talent, being able to sketch things fairly decently, but if I don't work nothing will become of me. Same goes to any artist or musician etc.

    Also I think that those who succeed in the art world particularly are those who are inspired and create something totally unique - their own style. Those that do that have managed to see something and draw or paint or w/e onto paper and create something that no one has seen in the way they have.

    Thats my opinion but idk how much it means. u.u

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    Talent takes on a more grim and edgy dimension when yer "playin' for keeps" as in the abilities of swordsmen like Miyamoto Musashi, fighter pilots like Joe Foss, or gunfighters like Jelly Bryce:

    http://www.gutterfighting.org/jellybryce.html

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    Talent seems to be the magic word people come up with then they spot inequalities with people's abilities. No, we aren't going to be equal in our artistic skills. Even those assigned the word "talented" must work to create art like anyone else and like anything else the time it takes us to get to a certain level varies.

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  4. Art: A Talent.
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