Talent or Work: More or Less

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Talent or Work: More or Less

I read something recently that I think is true.

For some reason, perhaps a left over mindset from my younger days, I have seen that some people say (and think) that to have artistic talent (ability, skill, etc.) is a rare thing to have. Furthermore it is such an uncommon thing that one should not waste the 'talent'.

Some artists, I've heard, resent the use of the word talent, feeling that a 'talent' makes one think the skills of the artist are limited to something naturally bestowed… as if an artist was born fully capable of an unusually high level of artistic ability.

Perhaps you could visualize one being born with brushes blazing in both hands, making meaningful marks on the delivery room walls or the wonder child singing the aria 'Nessun Dorma' while still residing in the mothers womb!

I am, of course, using the term artist, in the broadest sense of all artistic genre.

Many well known artists have expressed the need for the active exercise of practice and work to take what some see as a talent and develop it into the amazing power of creative expression. Émile Zola said, "The artist is nothing without the gift, but the gift is nothing without work."

So the thing that I mentioned reading about before, was this, "It is extremely common that a person has true artistic talent. However, it is rare for people to develop or nurture their artistic talents as they age." I can not say who it was who said this, but I have found much in my own experience which makes me believe this to be true.

Have you read this quote before?

"Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up." — Pablo Picasso.

…and what about this one?

"Everyone is born creative; everyone is given a box of crayons in kindergarten. Then when you hit puberty they take the crayons away and replace them with dry, uninspiring books on algebra, history, etc. Being suddenly hit years later with the 'creative bug' is just a wee voice telling you, 'I'd like my crayons back, please." — Hugh MacLeod.

ideas are complex

What's been noticed as I've entered into the world of art [(lower case art world - where artists live - not the world of gallerists, auction houses and rich collectors) please notice, I am narrowing the spectrum to visual art of which I have personally experienced], anyway, what I've seen, is that talent (ability, skill, etc.) is not rare, but extremely common.

There are artists galore and of all types (expanding that world of artists back again) in every genre and they all love the idea of creating, performing or practicing something artistic. Yes, it may be in some scale of judgment that some do it better than others but the wave of invention and creativity springing from artistic efforts has impacted the 'real' world like a tsunami that engulfs and (usually) improves every aspect of modern and historical life.

To me it is clear that persons with the artistic bent are not far and few between but just the opposite. Not rare but plentiful, not insignificant but valuable and needed.

Does the world need more artistic people?

Yes. Yes it does!

Do artists need to nurture, practice and improve their artistic talents?

Yes. Yes, they do!