Talent

DEFINITION

An inherited or previously developed ability of significant quality for artistic or other achievement. One or more persons having such ability. What most people consider inherited abilities are more likely the result of nurturing experiences.Talent is a wonderful blessing. Just as such child prodigies as Mozart excelled in music at a very young age, there are children who seem to take to drawing with greater facility than others. It is difficult to know to what extent a child's ability is inborn or the result of early experiences and encouragement. Certainly early experiences can affect a person's motivation. These in turn affect a person's willingness to seek knowledge independently, and to be more receptive to instruction. Regardless of different individuals' abilities, instruction can have an enormous impact on increasing any person's success in art.It is a painfully common mistake to expect talent accompanied by little effort to result in great success. Curiously, however, there are many examples of motivated people, whose talent and circumstances were unremarkable, who have succeeded as artists. This is most likely for people who receive systematic instruction.A person who is sufficiently motivated can achieve success with self-instruction, but examples of such people are rare. There are tremendous advantages to becoming involved with people who share (as good instructors do) the kinds of specialized knowledge artists find useful. Self-taught artists sometimes achieve recognition when they get the attentions of art writers and exhibitors, but typically their work is so extremely personal or derivative, and its audience limited to friends and relatives, that it disappears after the artist's death.Quotations: "I don't advise anyone to take it [painting] up as a business proposition, unless they really have talent . . . . But I will say that I have did remarkable for one of my years, and experience." Anna Mary Robertson, called "Grandma Moses" (1860-1961), American self-taught painter. The New York Times, May 11, 1947. See folk art. "It would be a mistake to ascribe this creative power to an inborn talent. In art, the genius creator is not just a gifted being, but a person who has succeeded in arranging for their appointed end, a complex of activities, of which the work is the outcome. The artist begins with a vision; a creative operation requiring an effort. Creativity takes courage." Henri Matisse (1869-1954), French modernist artist. See Modernism. "Talent and all that are really for the most part just baloney. Any schoolboy with a little aptitude can perhaps draw better than I; but what he lacks in most cases is that tenacious desire to make it reality, that obstinate gnashing of teeth and saying, 'Although I know it can't be done, I want to do it anyway.'" Maurits Cornelius Escher (1898-1972), Dutch graphic artist. See optical illusion and tesselation. "I don't have a lot of respect for talent. Talent is genetic. It's what you do with it that counts." Martin Ritt (1914-1990), American actor and motion picture director. "Talent (or the lack of it) is not given in the nature of things, it is the product of social arrangements, which often have an institutional framework and long cultural history." Hugh Mehan and H. Wood, American ethnologists specializing in educational research, The Reality of Ethnomethodology, New York, Wiley-Interscience, 1975. "Beyond talent lie all the usual words: discipline, love, luck; but most of all, endurance." James Baldwin (1924-1987), American writer and critic of racism, quoted by Jordan Elgrably in Paris Review. Also see art careers, art therapy, genius, heritage, inspiration, masterpiece, and virtuosity.

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