being self-taught
My Story & Being Self-Taught
June 12, 2013
learning about art
What can you expect if you’re just starting on your journey?
June 17, 2013
Beginning to Draw at 22

definitely genius material

This question sounds like a koan, a buddhist riddle, something that seems like it has no answer or like it’s absurd, for me though, this is the question I had to ask myself when I was staring at a piece of paper with a deformed cube on it, wondering why all the sides, which I know are perfectly square and try to draw as  squares, look nothing like an actual cube. To anyone with access to a teacher, this is a matter of 5 minutes to understand, to figure out that there is some sort of trick at play and that things are not as they appear. My teacher, though, wasn’t showing me anything, my teacher was only asking questions. My teacher also, in case you were wondering, was the one who drew the picture above… This is probably not the guy you want to go to, to learn to draw…

Art is a very practical thing. In the production of a piece of art it doesn’t matter in the slightest how much you know, if you can’t apply what you know. My education so far in my life has been mostly theoretical. People give you information, then they tell you that they’ll be asking you questions about it later and they also tell you about the questions they’ll be asking… they even tell you when they’ll be asking you stuff so you don’t have to worry about knowing anything before that! Then you can simply forget it all. This is what I call theoretical learning – you just retain some information for a brief period of time, then discard is as utterly unnecessary. Art makes absolutely no use of this type of learning, art reflects production, your grasp of an application of a principle, not your theoretical understanding. How beautiful! No vague notions or ideas about how something might be done or how it should be done – art is all about whether you can do what you think or not, a picture does not come with an essay attached to it, if it did then I could probably justify the picture on the top of this post somehow, explaining that I understood well that light and shadow create form, but the current configuration simply does not work as intended…

Every field is larger than the knowledge of any one person. So any field requires immersion and exploration, regardless of what you’re trying to learn and whether you’re doing it on your own or you have some help. I wasted extraordinary amounts of time wondering whether I could do what I wanted to do or couldn’t. Vacillating between desperation and elation, considering irrelevancies. Who you are as a person has nothing to do with what you’re doing. It doesn’t matter how you think about yourself, your work, if executed correctly, will get done, regardless of who you are. So if you’re looking to learn something, first explore all of it. Don’t be caught on the cube and wonder for hours why it doesn’t look like a cube. A much better approach would be to identify the largest areas of study that you need to cover. In the field of art it would be perspective, form, color, design, under these you could insert any other sub-category like anatomy for instance, which can go under design and form, but knowing that these are the major things you have to tackle, you have now expanded your horizons from a sheet of paper to a universe of potential knowledge. You have gone from a small problem, which is the worst kind of problem to face, nothing can make you as mad or as frustrated as a small problem, to a whole new world of possibilities… So what small thing are you staring at, while you’re ignoring the galaxy above you?

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