My theory is that everyone has the talent required to make art…….to make good art. Everyone- your dentist, the guys outside mowing the lawn, all of us- have the talent to make good art. There are, however, four factors that keep that from happening. The most obvious one is, of course, interest or desire. Your dentist probably has no interest in doing a painting, good or bad. #2 is lack of self-discipline, #3 is unrealistic expectations, and #4 is lack of self-confidence.
Before I discuss these factors, let me get back to my theory regarding talent. My dictionary’s definition says that talent is “a native ability for a specific pursuit.”
I think we will all agree that every child loves to make art…..to color, to paint, to cut and paste…..with delight and enthusiasm. Every child shows talent for making art.
Now let us look at two children: Child A and Child B.
Child A’s parents believe that art is an important part of life. They make sure he has paper and crayons, paint and markers….as much as he wants. They take him to galleries, museums, and concerts. They have good art on the walls of their home. They send him to Art Camp. By the time he is in high school he can comfortably do a drawing for the school newspaper or do a painting for a CD cover for his friend’s band.
Child B’s parents’ choice is to plop her in front of the TV rather than deal with the mess of art materials. Gallery and museum trips are not a part of their lifestyle. When she gets to kindergarten the teacher hands out pre-drawn sheets for the kids to color, and when she colors the sky orange she is told “No, that’s wrong. You’re supposed to color the sky blue.” She is never encouraged to try drawing or painting. She has never met an artist. Art is a non-factor in her life, and if you asked her about it she would tell you that she couldn’t draw a straight line. And she has no interest in trying.
If you met these two as teens, with no background information, the common observation would be that Child A is talented in art, and that Child B is not. But I don’t agree. I believe that Child B’s “native ability” is still there. It has just been buried.
So once again I say: We all have the talent required to make good art. The hard part is to dig through the layers of crap that have buried it, and to once again make this talent (and excitement) accessible.