U4D – Are Artists Born?


A big question for today’s U4D post is are artists born? It is something that many people question. I thought it would be good for today.

U4D – Are Artists Born?

So are they? What do you think?

It is something I have always thought. I’ve been a creative person my whole life. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t doing something creative. During times when I wasn’t, I was unhappy and life wasn’t fulfilling.

Though it did take me many years to find what I really wanted to do with my life. Well, that is creatively.

I think they are born.

Now let’s get the discussion going!

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  1. I have witnessed an artist born in my classrooms after we have given them the tools and helped them to see their talent. I believe too that some of us are simply born to create; it is about purpose. I also believe that artists reincarnate and bring with them creative wisdom from the heavens. It may since far out but think about it.

  2. Leanne, I’m pretty sure that both I and my late cousin inherited artistic tendencies (incl “an eye for a picture”, I have been “seeing” pictures all my life) from a highly creative grandmother – and they have flourished despite us both spending our working careers in science, engineering and analysis. I photograph, as you know; and my cousin attended art college late in his life and took up painting from there on.

    In fact, observing my cousin and myself (and other more distant family members too) – and not forgetting that we have different parents – it is astounding just how many behavioural and physical traits have come down to us genetically. Adrian

    1. It is interesting that you bring that up. I know both my daughters are creative, and it comes from both sides of the family. Genetics are an amazing thing to look at. Thank you for sharing that experience Adrian, it is interesting.

  3. That sentence, “I’ve been a creative person all my life”, got folks off on the wrong track. As you point out, Leanne, creativity and art are not the same thing. Creativity is needed to be an artist, or a writer, or an engineer, or a business person. Indeed it serves use in all walks of life.

    For many tears I worked with young people, and what stands out at a young age is curiosity. Kids are eager to turn over every rock. We drum it out of them by the time they get to be teenagers. I suspect that also applies to the talent for art. I think we all have the seeds to put things together in new ways, the desire to see if doing so is rewarding.

    It is our need for reward that sparks us on. That doesn’t mean pecuniary reward. For most artists it is the thrill of achievement, Even if no other person sees the sand drawing, the artist gets proud satisfaction.

    So to my opinion on the questions, are artists born. Just an opinion, of course, but I think yes, artists are born. All are born as artists. Some are nurtured to develop that artistic talent. Some are encouraged at an early age. Some develop the skills to express their artistic visions. For some these talents fade into the recesses as other needs and desires predominate.

    True, looking around, I see some outstanding artists. People who have the skills, talent, vision, and creativity, that make them “artists”. How they managed to get all that together I just can’t fathom.

    1. I think you are right Ludwig, I realised that as well. They are definitely two different things.
      I often wonder if that gets beaten out of us because one, people don’t understand it, and two because they think there is no future in it.
      Good to hear you think the same as me. YOu have some great points and observations here Ludwig, thank you for sharing them.

  4. I think it’s quite a nuanced answer. I agree with you Leanne that there’s a difference between being creative and being an Artist. I also agree with others’ suggestions above: in my experience almost all people are creative given opportunities, resources and encouragement. Even without encouragement people will still be creative from time to time to get through a situation etc. Hobbies are often an expression of creativity. But, the Artist is a different beast. There is an obsession with theme and process, determination, and long-term conscious and unconscious observation being melded with an insight. All of this manifests in a pursuit of expressing and representing a vision or perspective. Often through alternative processes and mediums. I posit that for the Artist there is no other path that is not a living death. There is an interesting documentary called “The Artistic Life” about David Lynch, often known for his surreal filmmaking but is an extremely prolific sculptor, photographer, painter and practitioner of assemblage. It’s very enlightening around this idea without being overly political.

    1. I really like the way you have described all of this Craig, I couldn’t agree more. I will have to look for that doco. I definitely get that part about having to create work. If I’m not physically doing it, my mind is planning and working out what else I can do. It never stops. Thankyou so much for this Craig.

  5. Creativity is definitely part of the gene set. However, I think a certain amount of talent can be learned. I don’t consider myself to be creative, but I do see opportunity and work with it from there.

    1. I’m happy to hear you agree with me Anne, I feel like it is part of me. I can’t stop it. I do think creativity and being an artist are different, and I agree many people can learn to be artistic, but I guess I wonder if that makes them an artist. Thank you Anne.

  6. Yes, I agree artists are born but creativity is in each of us. I believe everyone is born with the ability to be creative. Some express their creativity through artistic endeavours such as painting, writing, music and of course photography; others express their creativity through scientific, mathematical or business endeavours such as medicine, engineering, or finance. The trick is to get past the obstacles, barriers, and the expectations of society and others so we can follow our hearts and do what it is that makes our spirits sing. In love and Light Cheryle

    1. I like the way you are thinking. someone said something similar, different degrees of it. I think their is a difference between creativity and being an artist, and as you have said there, creativity is in a lot of things. Thank you Cheryle.

  7. This relates to a conversation another photographer and I had last weekend. Nowadays, everybody seems to be taking pictures. Everyone has a camera, either in their phones or they have a “real” camera. But there is a big difference between photographing (as a creative art) and simply taking pictures. There are lots of tutorials, books, videos, websites available for people to learn the techniques of picture taking. And so many people are able to produce very nice pictures that are technically very good. But there’s still little or no creativity involved. You “take” pictures, but you “make” photographs. To do so requires the ability to see or create meaning, to respond to it sensitively, to want the photograph to say something, to the photographer or the viewer or both. We debated whether that sensitivity – the creative part of it – can be “learned.” I don’t think so, exactly. It is possible for someone who has an artistic vision to refine it, build on it, grow a more creative approach. But I think many people do not have the creative instinct.

    1. Great comment Joanne, you have made some great points, and I pretty much agree with it all. Great discussion, thank you.

  8. I don’t. I think everyone is creative, but sometimes the creative is crushed out of us by life and circumstances… the kid who’s told they can’t sing so stops, or the adult who is too busy surviving to be able to indulge their creativity. I think we often let go of our creativity to do life – study, work, families, but it doesn’t mean we’re not creative given the opportunity.

    1. I see it as a drive, a “I don’t care what people think I have to do this”. I’ve never let anyone telling me I couldn’t do it from stopping me. Perhaps everyone is creative a little, but I’m talking about being an artist. There is a difference. You find creativity in everything, but being an artist is different. You see it with musicians as well, they can’t stop making music. Nothing can get in the way. It is their drive for life. The same with some of us, I have to be creating images.

  9. I think everyone has at least a small amount of creativity. I have also been a creative person all of my life. Some of us do have more creativity than others. It does take a while sometimes to zero in on the best way to express your creativity. Also the chosen expression of creativity needs to be honed. You need to take your creativity and expand on it. I have been interested in photography since I was a kid. My photography has improved year by year and still continues to improve.

    1. Yes, perhaps there is that too. I just know I’ve seen people who think they are creative and will do something, then life gets in the way and they just stop. They don’t miss it, and don’t feel a desire to continue. I couldn’t do that. I’m driven to be creative in some way, whether that is painting, drawing, sculpture, printmaking or photography. I have to be doing a least one, or I’m not living. Great to hear your photography is always improving. That is what you want.

    2. Yes, I know what you are saying about the drive to create. I think that people are born with different levels of creativity. The more creativity you have, the bigger your drive is to create. I have the drive to create as well. If I have not photographed anything for a while, I’m like a junkie needing a fix. I need to photograph something. Photography is also my therapy. It calms me down and gives me focus. Especially if I don’t have anything that I need to photograph. If I’m just out in the field aimlessly wondering, looking for something to photograph. I can leave the world behind and be all alone, even in a crowd.

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