Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Thoughts on being a self-taught artist

Education is extremely important in my world. However, being educated does not mean one has to have formal education and a degree. There are many examples of innovative, successful people who never finished college, yet they contribute to humanity by leaps and bounds.

I am a self-taught artist. When I say that to people locally, they usually immediately dismiss me as a serious artist. Some have even suggested I should take classes to learn to paint, or laughed at me etc. It seems that having a degree in art is important in Canada, and I get that kind of thinking. Formal schooling gives a person an experience like no other, and one can grow a lot and learn a lot from attending a University program. Because it is an investment of time and money, degree is viewed as a valuable asset.  From the research I did in Edmonton, I can see that there are just a few professional artists without a formal degree represented by local galleries.

I have looked into going to the University to take classes, because I do think I could benefit from the right kind of instruction. It would be great to hone drawing and painting, color theory, and composition skills with a professional artist.  However, most of the art education in Edmonton is centered around conceptual art and I just cannot get into it, nor do I understand it. I strongly feel that attending the University at this point in my career and in life, would not be beneficial to my development as an artist. I came to this conclusion after attending numerous local art shows and leaving most of them underwhelmed. I just do not get it. I figured out much better ways to use the money I would spend on tuition to better myself as an artist.

So what is a self-taught artist like me to do, in a city where they do not fit into an art education mold? There are many ways to grow as an artist, and resources are quite readily available.

These two hippos were happy as can be that day at the Calgary Zoo. Just basking in the sun and relaxing. My favorite kind of day.

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