Monday, March 8

Five Skills You Must Have to Call Yourself an Artist

Today’s Image
Courtesy of Microsoft Corp.

You call yourself an artist? Then you must have at least five basic attributes or skills that allow you to make that claim legitimately.

Art does not magically appear.

Artists do not automatically render renowned works of art.

It takes work—and a lot of it. Although their art may appear to be effortless, it isn’t.

Some artists are graced with the gift of creativity and a good eye. For those who are not graced, the hill to success is an even steeper one. Artists must hone their artistic skills regularly.

What are these skills? Here are my Top Five.

-Excellent drawing ability

-Knowledge of composition and balance

-Impeccable rendering of color and light

-Perfect technique

-Never ever forget the viewer (yes, this is a skill!)

You may disagree, but without these top five, I don’t think artists stand much of a chance.

Of course for some artists, skill is not a factor, rather it’s luck and celebrity that result in surprising success. Sometimes artists’ reputations become bigger than life or they take on a life of their own.

You look and look at their work, and it’s just not that good. And yet over time, they and their work somehow become famous.

How does this happen? I really do think it’s the celebrity effect. An artist’s work is collected by a well know person in just about any field— doctor, financier, head of state, actor. Or a curator at a world famous museum or gallery purchases just one of the artist’s works. That collector’s or institution’s celebrity rubs off on the artist, and their work takes on an aura of greatness.

As you know, many artists who were not well known or whose art was not well regarded in their own time have somehow managed to become art celebrities of today. Alfred Sisley, Vincent Van Gogh, Jackson Pollock come to mind.

For the rest of us artists, that would be like winning the lottery. Maybe the era of online social networking will someday allow that to happen for us. In the mean time, we must return to the basics and hone our top five skills regularly.


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