The Artist Strong Rewind
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A writer friend of mine told me he takes polite offense when people call him talented. It was the first time it hit me how the word talent is toxic for artists and creatives. He makes a conscious effort to use the word skill and since that conversation, so have I.
The word talent suggests we are innately born with some ability. That by virtue of our genetics we are “blessed” with whatever gifts given us. It suggests we have limited to no control over our “gifts” and I’d even go so far as to say it suggests we have nothing to do with our supposed abilities. Think about that for a minute. Do you want to be recognized for your skill, which has come from hundreds and thousands of hours of effort, or for something you had no control over?
More importantly, it abdicates people’s sense of responsibility to themselves. “I can’t possibly write a book like you,” or, “I wasn’t born being able to draw.” It’s the excuse countless people make to disregard their creative interests.
Well, neither was I. I WORK at it. In fact, I was no where near the most skillful artist when I was young. I always had a hoard of peers who exhibited skills above and beyond my own. But guess what? I persevere. I continued to work at my art. And that is why my skill has grown and developed over time.
I can’t believe how many educated, intelligent people make assumptions about art being a talent, not a skill. Yet, when our culture continues to communicate that art is unimportant (as we continue to cut funding for arts based programs), is it really their fault?
If you can’t tell this week’s article is near and dear to my heart. Considering it is the second most read article on Artist Strong, it may just resonate with you, too. Take a read, and let me know how you navigate the waters between skill and talent.
BE COURAGEOUSLY CREATIVE: How do you navigate the creative waters that define skill and talent? I want to know. Tell me about it in the comments below.
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