Talent vs Hard work

When we decide to pursue art as either a hobby or a career the word “talent” is something that pops up. It seems to be a common platitude in fact. No matter how many hours, or how many responsibilities are sidelined for creative endeavors, the concept of talent always seems to take precedence over hard work in common vernacular.

The main question when making natural talent so important is determining how much of a creators abilities are God-given and how much is a result of simply putting in the hours it takes to get good. What of people who are “talented” at things but want to do something else with their lives? What about people who may not be perfect at something but if they are diligent enough get SUUUPER good…but quit because someone says they aren’t talented?

Our art was terrible when we were kids but people told us we were talented. God bless those people and it was great that we thought our art was fine at the time but it was far from master level. We were just obsessed about getting better and kept going even when we make work that will never see the light of day.  We have each spent 20-30 hours on certain pieces…I would consider that in the realm of hard work.  We are drawn to art and always have been so does it make all of our work the result of simply inborn predisposition?  Maybe we should just concentrate on doing what we do instead of figuring out all this.

This is a topic that we will touch one in future posts and videos. Please share and leave your input regarding talent vs work ethic!

 

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Doing Work You Like

We live in an age where it seems like everyone feels entitled to opinions. Add in the fact that good art is everywhere so when it comes to figure out what style to do or what exact career path to follow it gets confusing. When we started trying to figure out what we wanted to do stylistically we had to figure out the following:

What do we want our art to look like?
There are a thousand ways to make a drawing or painting and so much subject matter to tackle. There is a limited amount of time to be alive and get good at things. You can’t do everything without getting overwhelmed. Yes, one artist may do great watercolor portraits, another artist may do beautiful Celtic folkart but that doesn’t mean I have to do those things. That person has reasons for doing what they enjoy, I need to discover my own tastes and preferences. You can appreciate something without having it yourself or simply take bits from each influence.

Why we are making art?
Am I making it as a hobby? Is it being made for a book or other publication? Is it being sold in galleries or being shown in exhibitions? Is it a physical embodiment of some emotion? Is it a vehicle for expressing a group of characters acting out a story of some sort? If it’s a part of a genre, which one and why? Who do I want to see this art and how do I best visually communicate to them? Figuring out the end game is useful for figuring out a path.

 

What was it about doing it that we even liked?
Answering this helped us discover the mediums we use. There are certain disciplines that we don’t do because we didn’t enjoy the process of creating it. Answering this helps lessen the dissonance between wanting to make something cool but not feeling like getting to the end point. What we do takes insane amounts of time so we need to enjoy the ride.  It also doesn’t help if other people love the art but the artists looses a piece of his/her soul making it.

 

Artists and creators: Let us know! Are you doing the work you really want to be doing? If so how did you get there and if not, what are your obstacles stand in your way?

Why you should get out of your art bubble

Last week we wrote about why it’s good to be an art hermit and look at less art. This week is an argument for the opposite. Why it’s good to look at other artists’ work. Self reflection in solitude is helpful but if you want a career it’s not just about you. Even if you’re a hobbyist, if you share your work with others they won’t respond well if they don’t relate to it.

bouguereau
Bouguereau Study by Taisa

 

If you want a career of art it’s important to know what’s going on in the market. Family and friends will give compliments because they care, so it’s important be objective about what skill is required. Looking at other art in your niche allows you to compare skills to other artists and get an idea of what’s required.  Magazines, galleries, and social media groups are all good places to start . Art directors and other potential clients frequent these as well, so they give an idea of the quality to aim for.  Art doesn’t have to be made to appeal to masses but while creating it’s helpful to be aware of these things.

On a personal level, looking at art helps interact with other artists and their audience. You won’t discover beautiful new things if you don’t look for them. Socializing with creatives online and in person leads to interesting conversations about any facet of art. You learn new things by listening or may help someone else.  When seeking out artwork, you can find new places to showcase your work too.

And the most obvious reason looking at other peoples’ art is helpful is that it’s inspiring. If I don’t feel like drawing a quick look at paintings and concept art makes me want to draw. Seeing awe-inspiring art gives me a higher level to aspire to. It’s impressive to see what’s possible. None of us has all the answers. After study and research it’s good to see how others solve artistic problems. When looking for inspiration, variety of art consumption is beneficial. A variety of influences breathes new life into your art.  Constantly looking at new ideas avoids stagnating from the same habits. You discover whole new mediums and genres. Without that variety there is a risk of getting entrenched in the same habits. Seeing new types of art breaks the comfort zone of only seeing things you make every day.  You can find things that appeal to you that you never would have imagined. Sometimes you don’t even know you like something until you see it.  Doing art for yourself is rewarding, but there’s a whole world to be seen.

Competing in a Saturated Market

Response to Roberto Blake’s video: competing in the saturated market

His question of the day was: the idea of competing in a saturated market scaring you off and keeping you from putting yourself out there?

I was going to slap together a little blurb in his comments section but instead will write a full post on this. I understand that this is something that others face as well so I will share this in this public platform in the hopes that this post as well as Roberto’s original content helps so, done take a chance on some idea.

Growing up Taisa and I assumed that a proper life would be to go to school, be good students get a job which will keep us employed for 30-40 years. Get a pension, retire and then mosey on off to the grave. We were risk averse because it wasn’t necessary for the above goals and in fact, competed with the prescribed life formula. It was risky to be risky even if the reward would be better. As stated in the post on why we don’t draw anime anymore, we didn’t have the tools to draw slick digital art like the top artists on early 2000s DeviantArt. I for one assumed that being competitive wasn’t an option. The fact that art is so competitive kept us from taking art seriously as a career option for a long time.

The only thing that made me think that I could do it was the points in life where it was necessary. I put myself out there because I had to. The alternative was to just get by in degree program I didn’t care about and eventually work jobs that I hated. So the option for us was binary: make ourselves competitive or be miserable forever. We weren’t even hurting anyone or doing anything unscrupulous, we wanted to draw some pictures. When the conversation was reframed in those terms that is when we stopped caring about challenges or others’ expectations for us. We figured out the things that we needed to do to improve because when it boils down to it those challenges tend to be excuses that feed into fear.

As Roberto stated near the end of his video on this subject; if you aren’t pulling the trigger on what it will take to tailor your life, if you aren’t engineering your ideas or contributing to the solution you aren’t allowed to complain. There are stories that we wanted to see in the world so instead of complaining about jobs or what other people are doing we are stepping out on faith and making it happen.

My final note on this is that everyone who has created successful things in some way started with nothing just like the rest of us. Even if a super great artist had a parent who taught them, that person still had to put the pencil to paper. Even people with inherited wealth can squander it away. Using other people’s innate superiority or privilege is actually an excuse to not do things when you break it down and just feeds into a fear of not starting.

Check out Roberto Blake’s video on the subject,  we are more than happy to send traffic his way!

In summary, we know that there is a saturated market but we chose not to care.

His question stands: is the idea of competing in a saturated market scaring you.?  Share this post with someone you think is letting fear hold them back!

Conclusion of Inktober2017

October has concluded and it kicked my butt.  I am working on a few oil paintings that I’d like to get done by the end of the year.  Taisa, however, went all in with it.  She got some amazing ideas out of it including but not limited to a full blown narrative!

In conclusion of this awesome art community event, it’s very important to use these community events as a learning experience.  We implore you guys out there to not use these things as a means of drawing just to say you’ve drawn but to use it to hone specific aspects of your work.  That’s my inspirational blerb for today.  Have a great week!