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Old 05-22-2019, 10:24 AM
DamenFaltor DamenFaltor is offline
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What is Talent?

Most of my life I believed I couldn't produce art of any type because I "didn't have the talent."

As a grown man, I've been dabbling and learning skills and have been able to make some pretty cool things. This has caused me to ask myself that question... what exactly IS talent? Is it simply an affinity for being able to see the world the way an artist does? is it the ability to quickly absorb and master the skills it requires to create art? Is it some kind of special ability to create that those who do not have it will never be able to reach?

What is your take on talent?
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Old 05-22-2019, 12:02 PM
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WFMartin WFMartin is online now
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Re: What is Talent?

I believe that the concept of "talent" is greatly overrated.

Art, in general, merely represents a group of learnable, and teachable facts, and operations that can be learned, provided you have the correct teacher, and an attitude that if one person can do it, then so can you. In my opinion, about 90% of what we term, "talent", or "skill", in art is basically involved in the gaining of pertinent knowledge. About 10% is the "practice" of which we hear so much, and "talent".

Art never becomes boring, either. If you are tired of painting in one, specific style, or genre of subjects, then just teach yourself to paint in another style. You don't have to do it forever--just try it for a painting, or two.

I enjoy creating brutally realistic paintings. However, one time not too long ago, I decided that I would teach myself to paint in a more "painterly style". Do do that, I studied the paintings of others whose work I admired, and noticed the techniques that they must have employed in order to make their paintings come out that way.

With one of my first attempts at doing this, I received a major award at a local art competition, and it was for a rather small painting.

None of my painted results is an indication of "talent"--it is merely the result of having gained important knowledge of the operations of painting that other, successful artists have used, and merely doing my best to imitate their "moves", or "techniques". I never copy the work of others; but, I certainly try my best to imitate their techniques, and use it for my own subjects.

Many times you need to select subjects that will lend themselves well to the sort of style you are trying to emulate. That often is quite important.

The first two paintings that I show on my blog (address below) represent the two, drastically opposite styles that I've mentioned, and I totally enjoy creating paintings in either manner. It is just a matter of learning a bit different operations, and then deciding how to perform them appropriately.

So,...."Talent", naw; "Knowledge", most definitely.

Hey, welcome to Wet Canvas! If I can ever be of any help to you in your art endeavor, please let me know.
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Last edited by WFMartin : 05-22-2019 at 12:16 PM.
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Old 05-22-2019, 12:25 PM
DaveCrow DaveCrow is offline
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Re: What is Talent?

I think talent is a facility for learning certain skills. If you have "talent" you may learn more easily and possibly achieve a higher level, if you apply yourself, than others.

For those without "talent" hard work and perseverance are the way through. Eve those with talent need to work hard and develop that talent or they will not achieve great results. A large part of what makes Tiger Woods an amazing golfer is the tremendous work he puts in to being an amazing golfer. The best painters study practice, and paint, a lot. They work hard at their craft.

I do nt consider myself a talented artist. People admire my work and comment that I must have talent, but really it is the hard work I have put in to get where I am, and I am far from great.
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Old 05-22-2019, 12:36 PM
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Re: What is Talent?

Definition of talent. 1a : a special often athletic, creative, or artistic aptitude. b : general intelligence or mental power : ability. 2 : the natural endowments of a person. 3 : a person of talent or a group of persons of talent in a field or activity.

Also known as persistence, patience and perseverance
aka practice practice practice

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Old 05-22-2019, 01:01 PM
Colorado_Ed Colorado_Ed is online now
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Re: What is Talent?

"There is no such thing as talent. What they call talent is nothing but the capacity for doing continuous work in the right way." - Winslow Homer

"Talent is a pursued interest. Anything that you're willing to practice, you can do." - Bob Ross
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Last edited by Colorado_Ed : 05-22-2019 at 01:22 PM.
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Old 05-22-2019, 01:06 PM
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Re: What is Talent?

Tell it to Mozart.

Talent is inborn. It's amazing how many people refuse to accept this, even though examples of talent abound throughout history.

I have a talent for English. I have no talent for math.
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Old 05-22-2019, 01:09 PM
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Pinguino Pinguino is offline
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Re: What is Talent?

Another view is that talent is whatever other persons acknowledge it to be.

So, if you spray-paint obscenities on exterior walls, and there is a subsequent exhibit of the police photographs at a major art museum, with great critical praise for your graffiti, it is because you have talent.

But on the other hand, if you are immediately nabbed and sentenced to scrub away your graffiti, with no museum presence, it is because you do not have talent.

I do not jest. Here's a famous quip, often mis-attributed to Andy Warhol but actually made by Marshall McLuhan: "Art is anything you can get away with." To that I add, "A talented artist is one who gets away with a lot of things."
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Old 05-22-2019, 01:19 PM
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Re: What is Talent?

Yeah, Michelangelo had no special talent. Einstein just worked harder. Everyone is equal in every way. To say otherwise is politically incorrect and just plain rude.
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Old 05-22-2019, 01:46 PM
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Re: What is Talent?

Let's call it natural ability. I feel that everyone has something that they have a natural bent toward doing. But even someone who has a natural ability toward doing a certain thing, has to work at it and practice it to do it well. I feel that in art, as any other craft where one works with their hands, it takes coordination between the brain, the eye, and the hand. That's just my opinion, which means nothing to anybody.
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Old 05-22-2019, 02:52 PM
DamenFaltor DamenFaltor is offline
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Re: What is Talent?

I love all of these responses - this is exactly what I was hoping for, different views.

My brother, 3 years younger than me, is an artist. I swear since he could hold a pencil, he was able to draw, paint, and doodle everything he saw with very realistic details.

To me he is talented. But I think the talent is that naturally he is able to see the world around him in a the way artists see the world as a default. As in, he can look at a shadow and see/understand the shapes and colors in the shadow. I just see a shadow. Now... that doesn't mean I can't train myself to see those things (as I have now).

I think talent is someone who has a natural ability to view the world in the specific way that allows them to succeed and excel in that specific industry. I also think that anyone can build that same view with practice and knowledge.

My brother had an affinity for art because he could see things differently than I did, and because of that affinity, he drew and painted ALL the time - which increased his skills and knowledge.

But him having natural born affinity doesn't preclude me or anyone else from being able to get to the same level of ability.
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Old 05-22-2019, 03:14 PM
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Re: What is Talent?

Well, it takes more than just the ability to see, though of course that's the bottom line. There are people who see very well, but don't have the fine motor coordination to draw very well, as sno has pointed out.

All other things being equal, the person with inborn talent is going to do better work than the one without. No amount of hard work or practice is ever going to turn anybody who isn't Michelangelo, to use john's example, into Michelangelo.

The only true talent I have is for English. From grade school on, I never got less than an A. I never scored in less than the top one percent on every standardized test. My PSAT and SAT scores were perfect. Freshman English was mandatory at Cooper Union, but not for me.

It never seemed like work.

With a good tutor, I might have managed to gain reasonable facility with math. But that would have been as good as I could get. I just don't have it with numbers.
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Old 05-22-2019, 03:19 PM
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Re: What is Talent?

I find DaveCrow's definition pretty much on the mark:

"I think talent is a facility for learning certain skills. If you have "talent" you may learn more easily and possibly achieve a higher level, if you apply yourself, than others."

I would only add a few slight changes:

"I think talent is a facility for learning certain skills. If you have "talent" you may learn more easily and rapidly master certain skills and concepts at a higher level."

Motivation/self-discipline/hard work are something else altogether. These can bridge the gap for the less-than-talented individual... and most teachers will tell you that they would rather teach a student who was highly motivated and disciplined than the lazy but talented student. Combine talent and motivation/discipline/hard work and you have an individual who will achieve at an even higher level. And then we have figures like Mozart who were talented, highly motivated/disciplined, and hard workers who also possessed that element of "genius"... and no amount of hard work on its own is going to rival that.

And then you have "luck" or "fate". As brilliant as Michelangelo and Mozart were, part of what they achieved was due to being in the right place at the right time: having the ideal teachers, having the patrons with the needed money and vision needed to support their efforts, etc...
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Last edited by stlukesguild : 05-22-2019 at 03:30 PM.
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Old 05-22-2019, 03:28 PM
DamenFaltor DamenFaltor is offline
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Re: What is Talent?

Quote:
Originally Posted by musket
Well, it takes more than just the ability to see, though of course that's the bottom line. There are people who see very well, but don't have the fine motor coordination to draw very well, as sno has pointed out.

All other things being equal, the person with inborn talent is going to do better work than the one without. No amount of hard work or practice is ever going to turn anybody who isn't Michelangelo, to use john's example, into Michelangelo.

The only true talent I have is for English. From grade school on, I never got less than an A. I never scored in less than the top one percent on every standardized test. My PSAT and SAT scores were perfect. Freshman English was mandatory at Cooper Union, but not for me.

It never seemed like work.

With a good tutor, I might have managed to gain reasonable facility with math. But that would have been as good as I could get. I just don't have it with numbers.

So let's think of these things as a chronological line, starting at 0 - meaning no ability or skill. Talent, perhaps then, is someone born at level 10; meaning 10 years worth of consistent practice and training. They pop out of the womb and instantly have 10 years worth of skill and knowledge. As time advances, that person will always be 10 points ahead of someone born at 0. However that does not mean that someone born at 0 can't get to 40 or 50, where they are able to produce at the same level as the talented person. It only means that talented person will always find it easier, and will always be ahead of the untalented person.

For you, math would take a lot of work to master, whereas for someone talented at math, it would take no effort. They just see world in numerical operations. You could master it, but the effort would be far more than one born with the ability.

Last edited by DamenFaltor : 05-22-2019 at 03:31 PM.
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Old 05-22-2019, 03:36 PM
DamenFaltor DamenFaltor is offline
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Re: What is Talent?

Quote:
Originally Posted by WFMartin
I believe that the concept of "talent" is greatly overrated.

Art, in general, merely represents a group of learnable, and teachable facts, and operations that can be learned, provided you have the correct teacher, and an attitude that if one person can do it, then so can you. In my opinion, about 90% of what we term, "talent", or "skill", in art is basically involved in the gaining of pertinent knowledge. About 10% is the "practice" of which we hear so much, and "talent".

Art never becomes boring, either. If you are tired of painting in one, specific style, or genre of subjects, then just teach yourself to paint in another style. You don't have to do it forever--just try it for a painting, or two.

I enjoy creating brutally realistic paintings. However, one time not too long ago, I decided that I would teach myself to paint in a more "painterly style". Do do that, I studied the paintings of others whose work I admired, and noticed the techniques that they must have employed in order to make their paintings come out that way.

With one of my first attempts at doing this, I received a major award at a local art competition, and it was for a rather small painting.

None of my painted results is an indication of "talent"--it is merely the result of having gained important knowledge of the operations of painting that other, successful artists have used, and merely doing my best to imitate their "moves", or "techniques". I never copy the work of others; but, I certainly try my best to imitate their techniques, and use it for my own subjects.

Many times you need to select subjects that will lend themselves well to the sort of style you are trying to emulate. That often is quite important.

The first two paintings that I show on my blog (address below) represent the two, drastically opposite styles that I've mentioned, and I totally enjoy creating paintings in either manner. It is just a matter of learning a bit different operations, and then deciding how to perform them appropriately.

So,...."Talent", naw; "Knowledge", most definitely.

Hey, welcome to Wet Canvas! If I can ever be of any help to you in your art endeavor, please let me know.

I really appreciate your view on this. And I love your work, it is magnificently beautiful and very inspiring. Thank you!
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Old 05-22-2019, 03:45 PM
Colorado_Ed Colorado_Ed is online now
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Re: What is Talent?

Quote:
Originally Posted by musket
Tell it to Mozart.

That would be an interesting conversation. I would assume he would start by saying something like "well, it sure did help a lot that my father was a fairly famous composer and conductor in his own right. As soon as he noticed my interest in music he put me on an accelerated apprenticeship to learn the family business, so to speak. It also didn't hurt that he had extensive connections that allowed me to grow to become the musician I eventually became."

(or as Mozart himself said, "People err who think my art comes easily to me. I assure you, dear friend, nobody has devoted so much time and thought to compositions as I. There is not a famous master whose music I have not industriously studied through many times.")

Will we ever know how much of Mozart "being Mozart" had to do with some innate ability as opposed to his upbringing and circumstances? Of course not, but it's interesting to think about.
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