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Topic can I be an artist if.... Go to previous topic Go to next topic Go to higher level

By rubychew On 03/30/04  

I can't draw to save my life but I make intersting collages and doodle on other people's work to make new/interesting images? is this kosher? or am I a fake?

By outofrange On 03/30/04  


you are not a fake!
you are an artist!
there are so many forms of art. just because you can't draw doesnt mean you are not super talented and a true artist at heart!


By pixielily On 03/30/04  

"collage artist" is a legitimate title. go for it! :)

By pinkconfetti On 03/30/04  


you sound like Duchamp

check out L.H.O.O.Q.


it's all in the ideas you have. it's not about technical skill anymore.

By senorcoconut On 03/30/04  

If Jackson Pollack is an artist, then anyone can be an artist.

By ursonate On 03/30/04  

woah! hold the phone! Sorry to disappoint you but that statement just does not hold water.

Not everyone can be an artist and don't think that just because Jackson Pollock is best known for his drip paintings, that he did not have skill. I think it's very important to have all the basic skills as an artist. Just look at the very early works of any abstract artist and you will see that they are there. I just can't stand by and let folks' hard work get discounted like that.

Also to say that it's not about technical skill anymore is the reason why there is so much bad art out there (well, one of the reasons). This isn't about being able to copy something perfectly, but there is something to be said for the skills of perception and coordination that true artists gain by learning those skills. In other words, you can't do it on talent alone.

By thixle On 03/31/04  

Thank you, ursonate!

Don't forget, art now is about content- not whether you can "copy" or not. But let me say that the "best" draw-ers are the ones that have no real preconcieved notions about drawing.

Hand-eye coordination is actually quite simple to master. As one of my prof's say- "I can teach anyone to draw. All I have to do is tie them to a chair and tell them to draw this apple in front of them. Given 10 years tied to that chair, ANYONE will be able to draw that apple perfectly. But, it takes an artist to know what to do with that perfectly rendered apple."

Oh, and for anyone interested, read up on Pollock! I'm actually writing a thesis about him right now- he has more work than the famous "drip paintings" which really should be recognized. I'll admit, when I was 16, I thought Pollock was just a guy that splashed paint, but I have really come to appreciate his art- even the drip paintings. (Honestly, read some of the methodology on those, you will be suprised)

By keiko On 03/31/04  

Look, regardless of what anyone says about "technical skill" or not, I think that if you are happy with what you are creating then I don't see why you can't consider yourself an artist. What defines art anyways? What's the line between "art" and "craft"? Various cultures define art in different ways and for someone to say that what you are doing isn't art, is just wrong. Just keep doing what you are doing and don't worry about what others think. The greats got to be great by doing what they felt was right and what best expressed them.

By technopaganus On 03/31/04  

It's always been my perception that art is anything that evokes an emotion, be it good or bad, as long as it's passionate.

If I spend 20 minutes crafting a wire & glass bracelet for my sister, and she "oohs" and "aahs" when I give it to her, then I think that's art. If I spent a month painting a canvas, only to get a lukewarm reaction from my boyfriend or parents, then that isn't art. It's expression, but not art.

Whatever you do that you do with passion, by my definition, is art. Damn your technical skills or lack thereof - just because you're not an artist in the classical sense doesn't mean you aren't an artist. Hell no.

By crazybones On 03/31/04  

I don't think you're a fake.

I have a slightly hijacking style question though:

How can you (besides formal education) get those techinical skills? I understand practice is important, but what if you're practicing the wrong way?

By yardenxanthe On 03/31/04  

I believe that everyone can be an artist. Everyone is born with some creativity, and anyone who has the desire to express herself in any visual way can be a visual artist.

No, it's not an elite club. Yes, it does take practice to get "good," but anyone can be an artist.

By ursonate On 03/31/04  

I think that having creativity and being an artist are two entirly different things. Being an artist is a metier (I've just been dying to use that word all week and there it goes!). It's a vocation. It is a calling. Being creative is just, well, being creative.

I think the best way of getting those skills is through daily practice and classes from time to time. You have to sharpen your observation skills and train and retrain your hands whther you do drawing, sculpture or whatever. Almost 2 years ago I took a drawing class for the first time since high school (about 15 years) and I was surprised to discover that I still drew in the same way that I did way back then. I have this tendency to make faces too long and stuff, so I worked on that and was able to overcome it. What was interesting is one day I went across the street to draw this classical sculpture which was part of a War Memorial and some guy walking by asked me if I "draw like that" which in general was a confusing question to me since it was a sculpture. I don't remember what my answer was, but I like to think that my continuing efforts are to struggle against the way I draw and toward the way I see. The majority of my art work is, indeed, non-representational, but immersing myself in those traditional skills is ever so important.

Ultimately it's the notion that abstract artists don't know how to draw that I am reacting to rather than the idea of one's ability to draw preventing that person from becoming an artist.

By senorcoconut On 03/31/04  

I was being sarcastic abut Jackson Pollack. That was the standard answer back in art school.

We actually studied the ratios in his drip paintings and they were amazingly scientific.

I still don't like him, though. It was a matter of taste answer. Not many people I knew like his work ,so we would just answer with that.

Same thing with chance music and Philip Glass. Is it art even though it sounds like shit?

Sorry. It was habit.

By rubychew On 03/31/04  

ya well, speaking as a musician, I can dig the whole "is it music or is is shit question" and the only thing I can say, is WHO gets to decide? you/me/some historian/space aliens/future peeps?

I suppose that it doesn't really matter does it, one way or the have to do if for yourself first and if other people like it, well there's the bonus.

guess I answered my own question.

By antigone On 03/31/04  

yardenxanthe: "Everyone is born with some creativity" --

Bear with me a little here... I've been thinking about this a lot lately since a friend of mine doesn't "understand" art apart from music and it just feels so strange to me that he doesn't want to create anything or is particularly interested in photography, painting and so on. Whenever I look at an image I FEEL something and he doesn't.

I guess I just thought that we were more alike, but it's still surprising to me and I feel a bit put down when he visits me. He has repeatedly said things like "Just think about how great it would be for a bunch of kids to come here" when he sees stuff I've made (which is not childish in any way) or sees my supplies. I tend to reply that I would probably run away from my own apartment if there were suddenly little children in it touching my stuff, or I would not let them in to start with.

I can't get over the fact that he so strongly connects creativity with childhood, and it had me thinking that every kid, at least the ones I've seen, draws when they're little but most of them stop. Why is that? Do they have enough other ways to express themselves; do they not want to have fun; do they suddenly not care about colours and shapes and creating something? Are they so damn mature they consider anything apart from work useless play? If so, do artists not work?

By rubychew On 03/31/04  

the last time I did any significant art work in school was in grade 6. In grade 8 I went to jr. high and took band..other kids took art. I would have taken art if I had the chance, but I was in another "artistic stream". so...from there on...I grew into my teens thinking that I was not a visual artist.
It was in my late 20's that I started to do painting and crafts....for pleasure.

I think kids stop creating artistic things because they are told not to at a certain point. Or it is not stressed in the curriculum. sad..think of all those stockbrokers that have clenched their artistic muscles for oh so long. what might have been.....

By jtsang On 03/31/04  

that is a sad thought. Also with music, I know most people stop playing instruments, singing, etc after college, same thing with art, or any creative endeavor.

As for whether you're an artist or not, it depends, do you want to start a business or just create objects that please you? You can call yourself whatever you'd like :)

As for abstract artists, I'd agree with ursonate, you have to learn the basics and be able to draw something 'realistically' before you can abstract them. Most of my mom's work is abstract, but if I ask her to, she can replicate anything exactly the way it looks, she just enjoys abstraction better. Her good friend is an artist that has works hanging in places like businesses and hotels, she has a gallery that she displays in and her medium is string i believe. they are large string works that are geometrical. I don't know how my mom knows her, but I'd bet that she could draw something fairly well as well.

Anyway the one thing I'd like to confess is that I don't like how I draw b/c I am not as good as my mother, or my grandmother from my dad's side. you'd think i would have inherited some of these qualities, but no...i said that to a teacher once, and he said (even though i hate him i have to agree). why? Can't you just judge your own works on your own merits, don't compare them (or that's the gist of that). Anyway I'd say if you enjoy doing that medium, you enjoy the product, you are an artist, it doesn't have to be oils and canvas to make it art.

another anecdote...i was in a museum, i saw 3 giant canvases, they were on 3 different walls, they were all solid colors with one horizontal stripe. I looked at that and said "I could do that" but then I realized "yes I could, but there's no way I would have ever thought of that"

that's what separates the people who think they can be jackson pollock from jackson pollock.

Also someone told me that picasso got so disenfranchised by the end of his life that he'd just do a doodle and sign it. was that still art? Or was he just manufacturing and capitalizing on his fame for $? Interesting question, I am not sure!


By WannaBeCrafty On 04/01/04  

Also, don't forget that art is subjective. It is whatever you think it is. Just because a piece might not strike you especially, doesn't mean that it's worthless, or that it's not truly art.

By crumpet On 04/01/04  

I think you can still be an artist if you can't draw (ie, collage artist, mosaic artist, potter, etc.), but do strongly believe that learning to draw would be beneficial to other artistic pursuits. Drawing is all about how you perceive whatever you're looking at, and how you translate that to paper. When you learn to draw, you start seeing objects in a whole new light, so it makes sense that you would see images and layouts for your collages in a new light as well.

By senorcoconut On 04/01/04  

I have been a musician since I was 4 (I am now 25). I was so lucky to go to an arts school that immersed me in so many forms of art.

By nocturne On 04/02/04  

Most kids sing too, but then stop when they get older. The arts are totally downplayed as inconcequential and impractical at the highschool level and beyond (said the music education major.) The arts don't often make you a steady wage, I guess.

Strangely enough we had a very similar discussion in one of my classes today. It kind of came down to: is there a difference between a musician and a professional musician? And how do you define these things, at what point do you become a musician? A professional musician? Do you need training to be either, or can one fiddle around on a guitar/doodle some cool stuff and call oneself a musician or artist? (not necessarily a good one, but...) and if you have to do visual art or music as a career to be able to call yourself a musician or artist, then what do we call all these people with hobbies? A lot of them are really good at their hobby.

Anyway, rambling. I think it's a pretty interesting debate though.

By themelliott On 04/02/04  

I don't think drawing is about some kind of exact replication at all--it's about representation. if we wanted an exact illustration of a person or a chair or whatever, we'd take a photograph (although, of course, even photography isn't an objective art...).

so i guess i think that you should try to think about your drawings--all of your work, in fact--in different terms. of course you're an artist!

By VoodooToaster On 04/02/04  

You're totally an artist. Lots of people do no creative work whatsoever. You have the desire. That's all that's necessary to create.

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