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July 3
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Talent is Earned

I get it. There are some people out there that do have some extreme capabilities right out of the womb, but this is targeted to those who are average joes, who think they can’t do things that a person with ‘Talent’ can.

Let’s start by defining the word ‘Talent’. According to dictionary.com it states

tal·ent  [tal-uhimageimagent]

noun

1. a special natural ability or aptitude: a talent for drawing.

2. a capacity for achievement or success; ability: young men of talent.

3. a talented person: The cast includes many of the theater’s major talents.

4. a group of persons with special ability: an exhibition of water colors by the local talent.

5. Movies and  Television. professional actors collectively, especially star performers.

This definition, in my opinion, is misused when said to me. Because to me it implies that what I do, is specially natural to me and it comes easy. But the truth is, it did not come easy. I fucking worked for it.

I was the music kid when I was growing up. When I started to play guitar I was around 15 years old, and acquired a good skill at it by practicing day after day for 5-6 years. I deserved to be good at it, and I was. Then when that career path seemed grim I tried my hand at normal jobs, like retail, and even plumbing. Eventually I decided that I wanted to work in video games and went to an art school majoring in programming. That’s right programming. I had no portfolio for art, nor was I any good at it. I was just as good as any kid who can trace anime. Which I can do. But saw that art was a much more creative, and interesting path to go down. So I switched.

You see, once I decided that I wanted to be a concept artist, I became a concept artist. It didn’t matter that I was bad, being bad is only a reflection of my lack of training and knowledge. So what do you do, when you lack the training and knowledge. You go get it, and there is no easy way around it. It’s a grind, and always will be a grind.

So I began to grind. (not the dance)

I spent 10-12 hours a day painting, drawing, learning, studying, applying, teaching, and reaching towards my goal. One goddamn inch at a time. I did this for 1-2 years and landed my first few jobs in the industry.

And to this day I study like no other, and practice all the time. So I’m going on 7 years of practice and acquiring knowledge full time. So I deserve to be good. Everyone knows this, the problem is nobody does it. When it comes to health everyone knows that to lose weight you have to eat right and exercise, but they always look for the six pack abs program done in 2 weeks. It’s the same with art. You have to digest solid information and practice constantly to become an accomplish artist. No one is accountable for your abilities other than your self. Funny thing about excuses, they work. Excuses are a great way of getting away from working hard. To me, because something is hard to do, is no excuse not to do it. If this is what you want to do, start doing it.

When people ask what did I do to become the artist I am today, I answer with, “I studied and painted a lot for 7 years straight.” People already know this answer but yet that’s not the answer they are looking for.

You may think that it was easy for me to practice and study. Nope. I have failed on so many occasions and keep making mistakes to this day. The difference is I don’t care if my studies or my practice sucks. It’s supposed to, that’s why I do it. If it didn’t suck then I’m not learning or forcing myself to seek new and improved solutions to my problems. When I post stuff it’s the stuff that didn’t suck. I have 100x more images that are complete garbage. So don’t worry about being bad now, because it doesn’t last if you work for it.

To you it may look like magic, but to me, it’s so transparent. My talent, was earned. And yours can be too.

Good Luck,
AJ

  • Listening to: Music
  • Reading: Books
  • Watching: Movies
  • Playing: Games
  • Eating: Food
  • Drinking: Water
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:iconpijuuu:
pijuuu Featured By Owner 6 days ago  Hobbyist General Artist
You're a very inspiring individual. Thank you for sharing this.
Reply
:iconraziels-lady:
Raziels-lady Featured By Owner Jul 18, 2014
I like that someone shares the same opinion! (Talent, I used to say, is always earned! I think even in the early stages when it's done somewhat subcosciously - for example kid who enjoys drawing and always doodles in class may be called talented cause he draws better than his peers, but even then it is earned! But just as you said you still have to work at it constantly and even more so if you want to become a professional (at which point you have to start doing it consciously, too.)) I might show this to some people! :D
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:icongingerdoodle:
gingerdoodle Featured By Owner Edited Jul 15, 2014
Such an inspiring and truthful post!

I was once told by my husband, that he was a passionate doodler when he was very young but gave it up, because he hat no talent.  When he took art lessons with a local artist, he was told he had no aptitude, no talent and should pursue other activities.  (I almost fell over mid-step while listening to this. I was enraged and dumbfounded.) The one with no talent was the artist who would say that to a child; clearly the artist was not a knowledgeable nor  passionate teacher. It is my opinion that this artist isn't very nice guy, and not very talented either... sure his works are alright, and possibly better than I can produce in oils, but they have no life or depth or weight. He's got years on me, so I think he should be better... but that's off topic... and only my opinion. Anyway, I tried to explain that talent isn't the same as natural ability nor do you need natural ability.

A world champion diver has physical traits which, for the sake of this point (though I know this doesn't always hold true), cannot be bought, learned or faked.  I know of an Olympic coach here who has an eye to see the right body shape in children of 4 or 5 year judging by the current build and that of the child's parents.  These traits allow for his ability to hold world records, but this doesn't stop others from diving for enjoyment, and sometimes people without the physic will surprise us.  Okay my point here is art doesn't demand too many physical traits, you need a hand which you have good control over, and you need eye sight. This said there are people I've read about who paint with shaking hands, or even without hands, and artists who are blind.  People have an ability to overcome obstacles to learn and to adapt.  

On the flip side of things. I had a natural talent for drawing as a child.  I was pretty good at seeing things (shapes and colours), and at mimicry.  I was not good enough to astound, no one was offering me scholarships or special lessons. My talent only took me as far as grade 7, before I stopped impressing my peers and family.  I needed good instruction to go further; unfortunately, I didn't get good instruction, and I fell behind.  I'm making up for it now, but it is hard work, as you've said here! I'm happy to hear from another source that it isn't all natural talent.
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:iconseviin77:
seviin77 Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
mines the wallet that says bad ass mother fucker. :)
Reply
:icondark-cobweb:
Dark-Cobweb Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2014
I've had this problem for years - it's good to see someone express it so well. People look at my professional work; the finished product, and call it 'talent', not understanding that it's pretty insulting for someone to assume that something you worked hard to achieve day in day out over years and years was just dropped into your lap, that you were just 'good', instantly, with no effort. I can never decide whether this rigid adherence to the idea of 'innate talent' is something people want to believe because it saves them from having to put the effort in by insisting that they don't have this mysterious extra ingredient. Because on the other hand, shouldn't you be relieved to discover that something we've always been told is off limits for those who aren't gifted enough is actually something that anybody can do? I would be.

When people ask me about what I do, I always tell them that I'm proficient, and that they can be to - in anything. Mastery is something else; perhaps that's where a natural predisposition really does come into play - but you can get a hell of a long way on hard work.
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:iconquetzalquaker:
Quetzalquaker Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2014
You never bothered to go into why you were motivated to develop your talent, which is the only aspect of this feel-good session that could interest me. Also, your closing statement leads me to wonder if you are trying to sell me-the reader-something or just not aware of the wording.
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:iconcanttel:
canttel Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2014  Hobbyist Artist
Holleluja!!!!!!
Reply
:iconfranziska-chartreux:
Franziska-Chartreux Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2014  Student General Artist
I totally agree and since I've heard you explaining this in your Lifestream a year ago it changed my mind about my whole art situation. (so many thanks to you for that! :) )
Anyways, sometimes I come into argumentations with friends about the theme 'Talent'. I say to them what I learned from you (and other artists), that Talent is an excuse for people who don't want to work hard for their goals. Then someone said to me: but what is that desire that drives you to achieve this goal? Why doesn't everyone have something like that?
And I really have no answer for that...
I know for myself that I have to do art, I have no other choice. It's what makes me feel alive.
But how can some people not feel a deep desire achieving something meaningfull for their lifes? How can some people (I feel surrounded by them) just life into the day and be ok with everything that happens arround them?
Thats a question that bothers me a long time now.
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:iconquetzalquaker:
Quetzalquaker Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2014
It seems you speak your mind, so I the unsought-after, would ask what you would define as "meaningful", if the answer is truly what you seek.
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:icontsabo6:
Tsabo6 Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
totally agree.
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