Damn, is this really my first post of 2021? Yes, it is!
There is a time to bite your tongue and be quiet. But there is also a time to speak. Quite honestly, I have an extremely hard time distinguishing between the two. It's gotten me into a lot of trouble in past relationships, when I felt something wasn't right, but did not say anything for fear of hurting others. I am reminded of a quote by one of the world's greatest teachers, Mahatma Gandhi: “Be gentle, truthful and fearless.” So here it is:
"The Trouble with Self-Taught Artist":
If you are using any of the techniques & tools you have learned in my workshops to create your paintings, you are not a “self-taught” artist. Clearly, your learning came from a source other than yourself, therefore you are not “self-taught”.
I see a puzzling trend happening to some of my former students who chose to describe themselves as “self-taught”. “How can this be?” I ask myself. “They’ve taken my workshops!”
There are many rewards to being an art teacher, but sharing my life’s work can often feel vulnerable, uncomfortable, even painful and terrifying. When a former student chooses to disregard the contribution I have made to their creative tool box, I feel slighted.
I believe our mentors and teachers are deserving of greater respect and kindness. Please give credit where credit is due.
My mother did not teach me to paint textured abstracts using acrylics and paint rollers. But she did teach me watercolor techniques using brushes and salt. For this reason, I would never think to call myself "self-taught" because I would be neglecting the contributions made to my artistic development by my mother.
Oftentimes, the things we learn and take for granted are a result of many hard-earned discoveries and sacrifices by our predecessors. I believe one of the best ways we can support each other is to realize we are all interconnected, and to express our deepest gratitude to all who have contributed to where we are. Thank you mom!
What does "self-taught artist" mean to you? Please share your comments on my Instagram. I'd love to hear!
This blog was created to share my belief that the art-making process is a catalyst for transformation and personal empowerment. I am living proof.