So what does it mean to be a self-taught artist? Asking the question suggests that some artists are ‘taught’ artists – that they wouldn’t have been artists if they hadn’t been taught the colour wheel, and line drawing like the times tables. But being an artist is something quite different to logical learning, and happens on the other side -the right side of the brain, and it comes from within.
In art school you are shown the works of other artists, offered different materials and guided on how to create different effects with them, but mainly just given a studio space and some thinking space to express things from within your self; As every artist will have experienced, it’s in this space that the moments of creative connection are felt and where the process begins. As an inspired idea begins to unravel, an artist hears their true voice, seeing it expressed it in their own unique language – the art work before them.
Where the term self-taught does have an interesting connotation, is when we talk of the naivity with which an artist that hasn’t been ‘trained’ in an art school creates – without an intention other than expression, they create with a freedom and authenticity untinted by the art world and not created for the art world. Ofcourse we are all influenced by our surroundings, trends and environment, but It’s when art is too heavily influenced by the art establishment that we can ask ourselves ’Is this art’? It’s when art is created for nothing but self expression and catharsis that it is truly art.
Creative free flow happens when an artist is naive – non-intentional. I believe everyone has an artist side – my company Paint Jam London facilitates studio workshops, providing a context for the inner artist to emerge in anyone and everyone.
I have opened a space for art to children with special needs, children in general, adults with substance dependancies, mental health problem, homeless people and corporate working people – all with the common desire to express themselves. The art works they create are inspiring and enlightening in a way that transcends most of the works I see in galleries.
Self taught artist? I’m a self-taught artist -we’re kind of all one, but more beautifully so when we’re truly making art for the sake of self expression, rather than the gaze of the art establishment.