Im going to go on a little bit of a rant here so bare with me or just stop reading now if you dont want to waste the next few minutes of your life reading my drivel.
I hear the word talent thrown around a lot whether directed toward me or the myriad of other skilled artists here or any of the other places artists like to hang out. Ive always been of the opinion that there is no such thing as talent but rather the drive and determination to do something you love and the aptitude to keep working at it to get better and better. To say someone is talented(to me anyway) is to suggest that there was one day when we just decided to pick up a pencil or a paint brush and were able to draw or paint well. I feel it downplays the years of hard work, Squalored living, and rejection we put in to get to the level weve achieved. I dont know about you but I sucked the first time I decided to take drawing seriously and continued to suck for years. I worked my ass off and gradually (very gradually) got better and better and continued to learn and grow. Do I think I was born to be an artist? I like to think so and dont think I could be as successful at anything else even if I put the same effort forward but it still came as the result of years and years sitting in my room and filling sketchbooks with crappy drawing after crappy drawing. I knew I wanted to be an artist and I wanted to do very little else. Its an aptitude perhaps but even then it comes after a lot of hard work.
I challenge you; strike the word talent from your vocabulary. Stop downplaying the effort put forward by others or the effort youre putting forward yourself. It does a disservice to us as artists and becomes a crutch to those that cant draw and gives them an excuse not to even try. I hear I cant draw. I have no talent or I cant even draw a stick figure. Well, maybe you cant but its only from a lack of trying and not from the inherent ability to not be able to draw. Find your favorite artist here on DA and take a long hard look at their work because you can be just as good if not better. They arent supermen and everything theyve accomplished artistically can be a realistic goal for everyone else. They didnt wake up one day being able to draw and neither will you. Once you fully realize this ,embrace it, and start putting that pen to paper for hours at a time I think youll find that all your artistic goals are in reach.
So the next time you see a really skilled artist and want to compliment him or her dont say that theyre talented. Congratulate them on all the hard work theyve put in to get that good. Its only a few more words and I think youll find it sets you apart from everyone else.
END OF RANT!
Just to illustrate the point and for giggles Im posting up a side by side of a drawing I did when I was 14 and one I did just a few months ago for Ultimate X-Men. While the recent drawing is far from perfect I think it illustrates the leaps and bounds Ive come in the last 20 years. And believe me when I say that there were literally 1000s of drawing done in between. Some decent and some downright horrible but every single one getting me one step closer to being a better artist.
Hope you dig!
My Myspace page: [link]
ADDENDUM: WOW, I absolutely love that this is causing such a powerful exchange of ideas and opinions. Whether I agree or disagree with you I love that everyone who has stated their own opinion is saying it with kindness and the need to be heard and not the need to yell their opinion or make others feel stupid. There's so genuinely great ideas and opinions being expressed in here and I encourage anyone else that comes along to please not only read my rant but read some of the responses especially the ones with opposing view points to mine. This is a discussion that is long overdue and I'm so stoked that there are people that feel as passionately about this as I do whether agreeing or opposing. Thanks guys!
ADDENDUM 2!: Just a slight observation. I've been reading all the posts and love the thought that's going into them so rather than respond to the dozens of posts individually I thought I would kill 2 birds with one stone, so to speak. Throughout all the posts, through those that agree, disagree, or fall somewhere in between, everyone seems to post their idea of what "talent" is but I'm absolutely amazing by the varying thoughts. "talent" has become a self defining word based on the user and, while all art is complete suggestive, I think the terms we use or expect others to use will help define us as artists and garner us the same respect that creative people in the music or acting word receive. Visual art is the forgotten creative medium mainly because we are harder to define to other creative areas. Some say it's a born aptitude while others say is based on determination and others say it's something all together different. This is kind of the point I'm trying to make and everyone (both agreeing and disagreeing) seems to be making my point for me. The word "talent" has become a catch-all word to describe what we do as artists and, because of this has lost it's meaning or has been perverted to suggest something like god-given ability without hard work. 'Aptitude' is a much more appropriate word since it implies a born ability to be good at something but still implies hard work and diligence to achieve it. That's why I want to strike the word from our vocabulary, at least for a long while so it can gain the power it once had and imply laziness or give people an excuse to try new things or work hard at something that might not always be easy to achieve. As always, these are just my opinions and I love reading everyone elses. Thanks to everyone that's replied and I look forward to hear more of what you have to say!DUKTIG!!!