Monday, February 18, 2013

Talented or Not?

This morning was the first day of a new workshop at Esalen. One of the most challenging issues for everyone is this nagging uncertainty about whether we have talent or not. This is especially true for those considering extending themselves into a creative endeavor for the first time.

Haven’t we all wondered whether we are truly talented? 

It is the most defeating of feelings when you start down that road that leads to self-doubt. I hate that place and rarely go there anymore.

What I reassure people (and yes, myself too) again and again is that talent, in fact has little to do with anything.  Especially art. I said this last night on the very first evening in the workshop; it takes a while for this to sink in. After all, this idea that some of us are “gifted” and others not, has been drummed into our heads for years.  Parents, schoolteachers, friends and even other artists get involved in perpetuating this myth.

I have been involved in teaching art and helping people re find their creativity for 25 years and from my experience I have discovered that amazing artwork, incredible ingenuity and creativity comes out when ANYONE takes the time to learn and express themselves from a place of authenticity. Simply said, powerful artwork is made by people who have learned to communicate their individuality in a way that is in alignment with what they love and are passionate about. If there IS one ingredient needed for the making of “genius” artwork I would say without a doubt it would be passion. When you combine individuality (and we are all individuals!) with passion and a measure of vulnerability and risk then amazing surprising artwork arrives. 


Birdie said...

I wish we could debunk the myth that it is talent and talent alone which produces art of any kind. I dont like being told I'm 'talented' because on the one hand I don't want to reject what is intended as a compliment, but on the other I feel it isn't really a compliment because it completely ignores the hundreds of hours of sheer hard work and perseverance! That hard work comes willingly most of the time - it's driven by passion - but talent? I have no idea and these days I can't see that it matters one way or the other!

amrts said...

I think you could spend hours on defining artistic "talent". Being an art educator for forty years, I always had that one student every year who had primitive drawing skills (hence not considered "artistic"), and yet there was something about their work that set it apart from the rest of the class.

Philip High said...

Thank you for the clarity of this post.

beth said...

Love this post.