Saturday, May 16, 2015

Innate Artistic Talent

I've run across yet another of those "nature versus nurture" discussions regarding artistic talent and creativity. One of the trendy thoughts lately seems to be the rather ridiculous notion that the successful pursuit of any sort of creative endeavour may be achieved through hard work alone. This line of thought minimizes the role played by innate talent, if such thinking even allows for the existence of hard-wired creative abilities.
Whenever I encounter the suggestion that artistic talent and creativity may be gained through hard work alone, that they are not innate traits hard-wired into the brains of artistic and creative types, I can't help but to think of what my religious education teacher wrote in a note she included with the regular progress report sent to my parents back in May of 1977. I still have the note. This is what the religious ed teacher said about my artistic abilities when I was eight years old:
"I felt I should also add a little note about Ricky's artistic abilities. He seems to have an exceptional gift for drawing and since we do quite a bit of this in class, I see it often. I've taken a great deal of art through school and I've seen many adults who don't understand many of the art techniques that come naturally to Ricky. When Ricky is involved in an art project all of his very best qualities shine through and possibly encouragement in this might be good for him. Just asking him to draw a picture for you or to make a get well card for a friend or relative are good ways to keep him using and developing his talent. I've really enjoyed seeing the work Ricky has done and having him in our class."

Keep in mind, the religious education teacher was impressed enough with my raw talent and innate abilities to send this note in addition to the regular progress report. Also, it's not like I grew up in a family of artists. My relatives tended to be farmers or carpenters or office workers. As far as my family was concerned, my artistic talents seemed to have sprung out of nowhere.

Based on my own life, I consider it "case closed".

Where did my artistic abilities come from? The raw talent, the natural ability to be artistic, MUST be hard-wired in my brain.

Here are links to a couple of articles of interest:

Science Shows How Artists' Brains Are Hard-Wired Differently Than Everyone Else
Can Creativity Be Learned?

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