Note: To protect the privacy of our members, e-mail addresses have been removed from the archived messages. As a result, some links may be broken.

Lesson Plans

Re: Who are artists?

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Alanis!! (acschmid)
Fri, 9 Feb 1996 10:38:16 -0600 (CST)

It appears to me that you are very hard-headed in your opinions about
what is art and who are artists. You are going to have a lot of arguing
to do in your lifetime, you'd better be prepared to defend your viewpoint.

I say you are correct in claiming that artists need to develop skills
over a lifetime. However, I also feel you are correlating artistic ability
with recognition here. I don't feel that one necessarily needs to
achieve fame to be an artist. I will use myself as an example. Ever
since I was four years old I remember being involved in art, and I told
people I was an artist. It was a self-propelled involvement-- I did my
art because I wanted to, no one ever forced me. This desire has stayed
with me all of my life, and therefore I am certain that I was just born
gifted and lucky. In my eyes, in my parents eyes, in my peers eyes, and
in my teachers eyes, I was an artist. It's not an honor that you receive
when you have the experience, it's a sense of self, environment, and your
relation to it.

As for book learning, I am not one to knock the knowledge books contain.
I myself love to read, and I am sure that there are many art books that
contain valuable information. However, I have never relied on books to
show me how to paint or which colors to use. I prefer to make these
discoveries for myself. Books and journals are a good link to the art
world, but they should not be your only connection. You have to explore
and use your imagination, too.

Children, I believe, are the best examples of those who advocate
imagination and escape. That is why I love their art, and I say that
children can be artists, too. Their work is innocent, but never
underestimate their intelligence. And never, ever, crush their hopes.
If a bright-eyed child looks at you, shows you her glorious creation, and
informs you that she is an artist, please believe that she is. She just
hasn't gotten a chance to show the world yet, but she's showing you.

Andrea Schmidt
ArtEd U of Illinois


If I thought that you would never remember me,
then I wouldn't leave....Winnie the Pooh
(and Andrea, too)


On Thu, 8 Feb 1996, Scott Walters wrote:

> >The idea that one is an artist from
> >>birth, or that anybody can be an artist if they are dabbling in the arts,
> >>diminishes the role of the artist in society -- a role which ought to
> >>place him or her at the top of the social hierarchy. Nobody is a doctor
> >>from birth, or an accountant -- they first must acquire the necessary
> >>skills and experience. Why should one of the most difficult and important
> >>jobs in the world be any different?
> >
> >
> >Don't you think that people have that talent when they are born???
> No, Andrea, I don't. I think they may have a predilection for certain ways
> of seeing the world, and certain strengths that may help them toward being
> an artist, but I don't think they are born with "talent." Nor does
> possession of talent necessarily make one an artist. I believe that an
> overwhelming number
> of human beings have the potential to be artists, but for
> one reason or another, never develop that potential. They are not artists.
> At best, they have "artistic" tendencies.
> Similarly, I think that there are many people whose innate "talents" are
> less than others, but who become artists through desire and discipline.
> >Some people can never be artists. I believe it has to be born in you,
> >the other sense to see things differently. True, you have to develop the
> >skills over a lifetime, but something has to be there to begin with.
> Ah, there's the distinction I am making: that unless you develop the
> skills, you are "artistic," but not an "artist." It is a fine distinction,
> I know. But I believe that the word "artist" should be reserved for those
> who have committed the time, focus, and energy to developing skills beyond
> the basic level. So in some ways, becoming an artist requires that one
> serve an apprenticeship, in many ways -- a period when one studies and
> learns.
> Its
> >incomparable to any profession such as medicine or law or accounting. No
> >amount of studying book material can give you the talent an artist needs
> >to capture and interpret a moment in time.
> Well, no amount of book material can lead a doctor to look at a human being
> and make the correct diagnosis, or a lawyer to ask the right questions. It
> is a mixture of experience and learning. On the other hand, the idea that
> an artist can do with out "book material" can be directly tied, in my
> opinion, to the shallowness of a great deal of contemporary art, as well as
> the relatively low level of craftsmanship exhibited. There are things that
> can be learned from a book -- the basic concepts of perspective or color
> theory, for instance. More importantly, there are books that can deepen
> one's perception of the world. Artists reflect the world, but how can they
> do so without understanding it fully and deeply?
> Scott Walters