Monday, November 11, 2013

The educated and the elite.

When I started painting, I also started to seek out the experiences of successful artists. I went to art exhibits and fairs.
Finding successful painters also meant searching online for information about artists as I became aware of them, and also it meant attending exhibitions and art fairs. I’ll talk about some of those fairs in just a minute.
As I heard the stories of these successful artists, in person and online, I was struck by a fairly common element. I asked those I met at fairs to tell me the story of their success as painters. Online I found artists telling their stories in blogs and on youtube.
Here’s the thing I heard over and over again.
Wait: I will point out right here that not ALL artists shared this common element in their story, but the number who did surprise me.
Continue: Many of these successful painters said that the beginning of their artistic journey began with a degree from a university with a good fine arts department.
I’m not criticizing this, I’m just pointing out that it surprised me.
I expected painters to tell stories of inspiration and personal creative agony.
But again and again, artists told me that after feeling the desire to paint, they felt that their first stop had to be to enroll in the university. Some of them mentioned this as a great story, because many of them entered their fine arts programs after the age of forty.
When I questioned several of these artists and asked if a university degree was very necessary to success as an artist, they all answered the same way, saying that they couldn't imagine how someone could even consider oneself a painter or have any level of success without a university degree in fine arts.

Again, I have no criticism for university educated painters, I’m sure any university art class is an incredibly empowering experience. It’s just that getting a degree in fine arts is not a possibility for me right now. And I’m not willing to believe that I cannot learn to paint successfully on my own. 
In that spirit, here's another one I've done while trying to learn to paint:

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