The thing that breaks my heart most at live art fairs is when you walk by, look at my work for just a moment, say “Wow, you have so much talent! I’ve got no talent, I could never do that.” – and then walk away.
It saddens me that you pair admiration for my work with the degradation of your own perceived lack of artistic talent.
Let me break it down into two parts to explain why.
“Wow, You have so much talent!”
Thank you! Such comments are always appreciated, and perhaps I need to get better at truly accepting those compliments.
That talent has come from creating things for my entire life. It comes from taking lessons, going to classes, watching tutorials, drawing things over and over again, trying new mediums, having total flops and wonderful successes. Creating been my form of therapy, so it’s taken quite a bit of blood, sweat, and tears over the years.
My talent a product of my time. Art has been something of value to me for my entire life, so I’ve put in the effort. If I had never been interested in drawing, the work that I do wouldn’t look the same. If I had stuck with acrylic painting, my work wouldn’t look the same. Without getting a little uncomfortable, trying something new, I wouldn’t be where I am now.
The point here is that the talent comes the work, it’s work that I absolutely love to do. But I’ve put in the time and the effort to get to where I am now.
I know that many of you would argue that some are more of a natural talent in this than others. I would agree, to an extent. There is a truth in that. Just like some people are more gifted at writing, or public speaking, or cooking than others. But if you don’t truly enjoy it and nurture that talent, than it really doesn’t take you anywhere.
It all just comes down to the time you put into your craft, whatever it may be.
The second part:
“I’ve got no talent, I could never do that.”
Don’t throw yourself under the bus! You do have talents, perhaps many that I don’t currently possess. If you don’t draw like me, it’s because you aren’t me, you are your own unique person. It also means that you’ve never spent the time on learning to draw. Totally fine, I bet you’ve spent your time doing other things that bring you joy. Just like I’ve never spent the time learning how to ski, or make jam, or sew Halloween costumes. I haven’t found the value in spending the time learning how to do it. But if one day I change my mind, I’d make the time to dedicate myself to learning something new.
The world needs a variety of talents in this world to exist. If every single person on Earth was only talented at drawing landscapes, we would be in trouble! We need talented scientists, public speakers, mathematicians, and so many others too for us to survive and thrive.
It makes me so sad to hear when you say this because it seems that you spend 3 seconds to appreciate the art, and then a minute to wish you could do it too, and look down on yourself for not being able to. It’s the tone that you use when you say it. I can hear the longing, and that little bit of ‘I’m not good at anything’ in your voice. Don’t forget, when you say something like this, you’re comparing my middle of the artistic journey, to your own haven’t-even-started-yet artistic journey.
Then you simply walk away.
It’s honestly a bit of an emotional roller-coaster for me. I’ll own the fact that I need to work on not letting it get to me as much as it does. For two seconds I’m so happy that you like my work, I want to ask you questions, want to ask you which one you like best, and tell you stories of where I got the inspiration from. Then the second half comes and I’m left in a disheartened state, but I smile and say ‘oh it just takes practice’ while you’re walking away nodding and completely doubting my sentiments.
Please don’t do this. Just because you don’t draw the same way that I do, or don’t write the same way your favorite author does, doesn’t mean you have no talent. Don’t put yourself down, let the art you see at a show bring you joy, not disappointment in yourself.
It discredits the amount of work I and all of the other creators here have put into this, and it takes away all of the efforts you’ve put into the things you love.
So the next time you see art, or some other creative work that you love, tell the creator, “wow I love your work, you have so much talent.” Period. Ask them how long they’ve been doing this, ask them about their work, and what they love most about it.
Remind yourself of all of your talents, of your accomplishments and that you are no less than a perfectly divine human being and that each one of us has a variety of amazing talents.