Pearls from artists* # 544February 1, 2023
*an ongoing series of quotations – mostly from artists, to artists – that offers wisdom, inspiration, and advice for the sometimes lonely road we are on.
Creativity is human potential made manifest. But what is talent? The dictionary (in this case Webster’s New World Dictionary) informs us that talent is any natural ability, power, or endowment, and especially a superior, apparently natural ability in the arts or sciences or in the learning or doing of anything.
This definition is revealing on several counts. First of all, it defines talent in terms of abilities and powers. It suggests that an artist can answer the question “Am I talented?” In the affirmative if he can point to certain endowments that he possesses.
But which ones should be point to? What are the important ones in his art discipline? How many of them does he need to do good work? Do they all matter equally? Which, if any, are absolutely necessary? How much of a desired ability does he need – how great a vocal range, how long a leap, how fine a hand as a draftsman?
Eric Maisel in A Life in the Arts: Practical Guidance and Inspiration for Creative and Performing Artists
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