I hate “self-trained” artists

At some point in aesthetic history, some idiot decided it would be not only “ok” but encouraged to collect art from the effectively non-establishment, non-elite, untrained artist.  There was supposedly a “freshness” to the art that was not possible before, even from the naive artists.  While this freshness does indeed exist (I really can’t argue that), it does not make up for poorly thought out, over-emotive, ultimately pointless work.  Maybe this is the “art” that I am missing.  This is not so much a problem to me really, as the more contemporary explosion of internet-based untrained artists spewing into site after site of limitless crap.  It sounds hypocritical of me, I know, since I too solicit work on such sites, but it should be apparent who the trained vs. untrained artists are and I do receive a number of great critical emails about such things weekly.  But I find more and more that artists are begin taught how to market as opposed to how to actually make real, quality art.  Instead, we have an overabundance of philosophies suggesting that over time, you will naturally improve.  Well, obviously.  But, you could improve much, much faster by actually learning from another painter how to use such things as proper binder, oil, ground pigment, proper varnishes, knowledge of how layers of paint refract light and create a very special sort of surface inherent in all works of master art.  The ones that have come before are not outdated in the painting world, although sure we have some new materials that are probably better for us, the paintings, and the environment.  New technologies can certainly alter the way we do things, but painting has not changed that much except how we, as a contemporary post-modern culture, decide how we want to approach it.  So, although there are still many painters out there who work with layers and proper materials (yes, there are such things as “proper” and “improper” materials), there are many times more painters who do not and who subsequently alter the market, availability, and general knowledge of the materials they use.  And this is why the self-trained artist is a problem.  Most, certainly not all, self-trained artists placate the market for crap materials which they go with because they know no better.  They may learn over time, but I will claim that this is not good enough when there are many institutions, universities, and academies out there who do offer real, affordable training.   Do it.  There really are “rights” and “wrongs” in all aesthetic endeavors.  The more artists let the “do as you will” attitude win, the more art and thus culture suffers and loses.

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3 Responses to “I hate “self-trained” artists”

  1. Michael Scott Says:

    The world is filled with people that think that just calling yourself an artist makes it so. After all “everything is art”. The person that cuts my hair thinks they are an artist. I do blame universities for all the attidudes that are out there today. For so long there was no known way to teach even simple draftsmanship. The Universities were not going to let that stop them from collecting tutitions from art students so, Non representational became the only real art. Being over the top is much more important these days than knowing anything. Mike

  2. endlessslug Says:

    Exactly and nicely put. We have that problem with the four colleges and two universities near my home. State schools need money from students and more importantly need to pump those students out with the tools necessary to succeed in the society they are entering – which happens to be a highly competitive world of quick mass production, and aesthetic utterance. In a capitalist economy, expansion and production lord aesthetic form every time. The folks interested in adding to human knowledge must do so later, after some form of success already, or as a hobby instead of as a primary goal. I should start posting some of these “artist statements” from post-modernist galleries I’ve been collecting…

  3. Michael Scott Says:

    In the morning I will still paint what I want and how I want and let the rest be damn. And feel great doing it. Mike

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