Artists are people who create unique works from their imagination. Artists typically specialize in a specific medium, such as painting, drawing, sculpting, photography, or graphic design. They may be self-employed or work for a wide range of employers including schools, art centers, magazines or museums, depending on their area of specialization and experience.
In 17th century Rome, the Baroque painter, Orazio Gentileschi gave all his children the best art education available. However, only his daughter Artemisia developed into an artist. In fact, Artemisia surpassed her father’s skills, and became the first female member of the Academy of Design in Florence. So the real question is – What creates a great artist like Da Vinci, Van Gogh or Manet? Talent or training?
Artists are both born and taught, according to a professor at Penn State. She states that many artists are born with passion and natural creativity but become artists only after trying other vocations. Before he had devoted himself to art, Van Gogh for example, tried to be a minister among poor miners in Belgium. Artists are also made, she says. They require training, education and a culture of other artists. If you put an artist in isolation, nobody can learn anything from their work. A craftsman may master a skill, but an artist ventures beyond to innovate. Artists have to be in touch with other artists, building on what other artists have done.
Becoming an artist doesn’t require a degree. You can make art any time, using only a few inexpensive supplies. However, going to an art school has surprising benefits and can actually help you shape & develop your skills further as an artist. Art schools usually have state-of-the art equipment that you’d be hard-pressed to get your hands on in any other way. Even if your medium doesn’t require much equipment, art school is the ideal place to experiment with techniques that need more than paint and a paintbrush. Another benefit of art school is getting instructions from an expert. Even getting little help from one mentor can save you from years of trying to figure out who you are as an artist, where you want to go with your work and how to reach there.
The networking opportunities you get from going to art school are endless. Many art schools host visiting artists and put on various sorts of extra-curricular events that will allow you to make contacts outside of your school circle. In addition, many art schools offer career placement services to help you find employment in your field after graduation, thereby allowing you to get a wide variety of internships. Most importantly, along with one developing and honing artistic abilities, most art schools will teach you the basics of how to run a small business,how to make a budget, price your art, handle basic accounting tasks & market your work.
Like natural talent, an artist’s vision is innate. Yet the way that vision comes to life depends on the artist’s time and place, the surrounding artistic tradition as well as life experience. Manet’s art, which challenged the Renaissance works and sowed the seeds of Impressionism, owes as much to his environment, his particular time and place, as it does to his inborn talent. The necessity of both natural-born talent and societal influences in shaping an artist also rings true in the life of Artemisia Gentileschi. In the 17th century, when women were not allowed to attend all-male art academies, Artemisia Gentileschi’s father hired a Tuscan painter as a private tutor. However, when he took advantage of her, Artemisia endured a humiliating public trial, including being tortured to test if she was lying, which resulted in the tutor’s one year prison sentence. Her life experience is apparent in her work, which tells us that social influences are just as important as having an innate ability to paint.
Needless to say, being an artist requires a very great deal of two elements – determination and application. If your mind tells you to try an art, just follow your passion. Imagination is boundless and is the ultimate essence of all arts, no matter how it is manifested.