The topic of today’s discussion: Art and Education. What makes an artist? And is something as subjective as art something that can be taught?
From an educational standpoint, in order to be (become) an artist you need to know the history of it, and not just your particular medium, but also a broad range, if not all of them. You also need to know what tools are available to you and you need to learn how to use all of them. You also need to know about other artists. Past and present. You need to know how to do what they did and/or what they’re doing. Then it’s time for you to learn the rules: composition, complementary colours, proportion, angles, form, function, and aesthetics. After learning all of this, it’s time to put theory into practice. While in practice you learn old outdated methods that are no longer in use but are a “good base” for you to start with. Then you move on to more modern advanced concepts and eventually start creating your own work.
Ok so let’s run over all this. In order to be an artist you need to realize that you’re not the first to do anything by impregnating your mind with knowledge of what all those before you have done and what those around you are doing. Then you need to find(not create) a style that works for you and your particular market and establish yourself. Then in order to stay in the market you must then keep up with the current trends in order to maintain your status.
So with all this you’ve learned how to dissect something and put it back together. You’re a critic with some background knowledge and some tools. Lovely.
Last time I checked, most artists had no formal training. For the most part, they were self-taught. Now of course some things do have to be taught to us. We’re not chemists, scientists, mathematicians, or engineers. We may be a combination of these but it’s unlikely. Those skills aren’t what make you an artist. They can help but we’re long past the pioneering days of anything. What matters is how you understand these and how they relate to each other and what you’re creating. And of course how you happened upon your revelation. :)
Now I ask you, without your formal education, would you still be able to produce what you’re producing? Would your work be original or would it be a subconscious regurgitation of something that you read or heard previously?
Would you be able to pick up your particular tool and figure out how it works? Would you be able to look at your results and decipher the good from the bad without any outside influence? Would you then be able to take what you had decided on to the public and receive praise from someone other than your mum? Would what you created be strong enough to leave an impression upon those who viewed it and also be an inspiration to total strangers? And with all of this, could you also take the criticism from those trained to dissect your work with their formal educations?
In short, could you do it without ‘knowing’ how to do it, and would you do it for the sake of doing it because it’s what you do?
Keep in mind, just because you know the rules, doesn’t mean you can play the game. You are more than welcome to be a referee on the field though.