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Sunday, February 12, 2023

Is Art for You?

Maybe you’re more fated for art than you currently believe. Or maybe not?

There’s this myth surrounding art, that only those rare few showing to be outstandingly gifted at an early age are meant for art and justified in pursuing it as, otherwise, it would be a waste of potential. But the path of art doesn’t have to be so all-or-nothing. Furthermore, being born a “prodigy” isn’t the only thing that determines competence and success (in fact, prodigies frequently fall off).

Many, many artists will tell you that, as they developed, they often heard “you’re so talented” or some variation of this from others. Meant as a sincere compliment but one that didn’t always land so well (you’re safer complimenting their art in terms of what you appreciate about it instead until or unless they respond to the intention behind it and bypass the rest). Because talent is only a fraction of what got them where they are and it would be inaccurate and dismissive to attribute all the work to talent. Some may not even consider themselves talented but they devoted and committed themselves so much to art that they eventually caught up and passed as such.

So if I were to pick a quality to determine whether or not art is for someone, it wouldn’t be talent. It would be Interest. How interested are you in absorbing, comprehending, producing, and polishing art? If you are strongly and actively drawn to this, it is worth at least considering. As a main career, as a side activity, or anything in between.

Artistic talent gives you a headstart and speeds you up, but an art interest moves you and keeps you going. Then, from devotion and commitment to learning and practicing, you gain artistic knowledge and skills. Which increases your chances of achieving results with your art that go beyond the satisfaction and fulfillment of making it. Although there’s nothing wrong in making art for the love of art either. Especially if you have the resources, which is another matter.

You can see it like this. If you have one or more of the three (talent, interest, resources), art is at least a bit for you. And if you have all three, it’d make no sense for you to completely ignore it. The overlaps between just two could also tell you something about where you stand with it. But again, I’d deem interest as the most important factor.

It can also be seen within the spectrum of artistic inclination. Some of us just happen to be more inclined toward art than others. And if we were fortunate, were also able to dedicate our lives to it. Regardless, art remains a human need inherent to most. How much is enough to sate you would then be a relevant question. One that would lead you into identifying how invested you can or should be in it.

In any case, alike other fields, there are different roles for artists to take and different levels in them. You might have to explore and experiment before finding what best suits you. Maybe it is in literature, music, or painting. Maybe it is in the culinary arts. Or it spills and spreads onto almost everything you do. Maybe you’re the poem and not the poet, or maybe you’re both.