The Myth of Talent: How Anyone Can Create Art
Introduction Hi, I’m Maggi Colwell, an art therapist at Chiron Art Therapy in Columbus, OH. Today, I’m going to talk about the myth of talent.
The Myth of Talent
Many people believe that art requires innate talent, which is a significant obstacle for those starting art therapy. People often tell me that they cannot do art because they lack talent. However, personal experience has shown me that talent is a myth. I started taking art lessons when I was eight years old, and my art was no better than anyone else’s. The difference was that I had a desire to create, some perseverance, and a passion for creating. Mastery comes from the amount of time and energy put into it.
Art Therapy is Different
Art therapy is different because the focus is often on the process, not the product. We are not concerned with what things look like. Instead, art can be an abstract representation of thoughts, emotions, and feelings. Art therapy is about expressing oneself with lines, shapes, and colors. The focus is on how the process makes you feel and what comes up for you during that process. Art therapy has a therapeutic aspect that is not related to putting something in a gallery.
Creating for Yourself
I create a lot of artwork that never sees the light of day. It’s personal, and it’s a conversation with my soul. Sometimes, I create to detangle the bits of myself that I have been pushing down all day, and other times I create for self-care and some downtime. Creating art for oneself does not mean that it has to have value in the market, be attractive, or be aesthetic.
Grit is an awesome topic that is worth discussing. Angela Duckworth, a research psychologist, wrote a book about grit. She found that the myth of people having innate talent is not true. Success is based on passion and perseverance. Innate proclivity is a great place to start, but people that become successful are the ones willing to practice their craft, learn from their experiences, and push themselves to be better. It’s about creating internal strength to keep pushing and getting better. The joy of the beginner’s mind is not needing to be good at something for it to be enjoyable.
Rules for Art Therapy Groups
\In my art therapy groups, I have two rules. The first is that you can’t do it wrong. I give open-ended instructions for people as a guideline, but the important thing is to have an idea of where you want to take it. After that, just go for it. There’s no grade, no fill in the blank. Life does not have a fill in the blank. The other rule is to be kind to yourself. It’s easy to be our own worst critic, but it’s a much better practice to work on self-compassion. We are often good at encouraging others and being kind to people when they are down. We should extend that compassion to ourselves.
In conclusion, the myth of talent is just that: a myth. Anyone can create art. Art therapy is about the process and expressing oneself with lines, shapes, and colors. Grit is the key to success in creating art, and it is about practicing, learning, and pushing oneself to be better. Remember to be kind to yourself and practice self-compassion.