How To Be A Self Taught Artist – Leonora Carrington (seated) and (from left) André Breton, Marcel Duchamp and Max Ernst with the painting ‘Nude at the Window’ (1941) by self-taught painter Morris Hirshfield in New York City, 1942. Credit… bpk Bildagentur/Münchner Stadtmuseum/ Hermann Landshoff/Art Resource, NY. Artwork: © 2022 Robert and Gail Rentzer for the Estate of Morris Hirshfield/Licensed by VAGA to the Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY

THE ART SCHOOL, at least as it exists in the U.S.A., is a relatively recent invention. The availability of a fine arts degree, and the expectation that an artist would obtain one, became typical at the end of World War II when the G.I. Bill gave veterans the opportunity to attend colleges and universities. Before then, aspirants in the art world largely learned about mechanics, perhaps through apprenticeships, or through informal classes at independent schools such as the Art Students League of New York, where working artists such as the painter Thomas Hart Benton, l -they instructed Jackson Pollock, even if the instructions were shaded towards the antagonist (Benton despised abstraction; Pollock said the only thing he learned from the older artist was how to drink a fifth of whiskey a day).

How To Be A Self Taught Artist

A look at how art is taught – if it can be taught at all – and what the future holds for aspiring creators. Continue reading

Upcoming Kids Art Competition Honors Memory Of Self Taught Artist

The popularization of a more rigorously structured arts education and its formation of a body of professional graduates also created an opposition group: everyone else. Artists who were not formally trained suddenly became known as self-taught, a fuzzy bit of nomenclature that is probably too nuanced for its own good. The term seems to refer to autodidacts, those annoyingly self-taught ones among us who decide one day to learn to paint or buy Italian or fix a carburetor and then succeed in doing just that, which, while not an inaccurate description, is incomplete. “Self-taught” is also a euphemism, one that elides structural motives

Formal education. The idea falls under “outsider art”, i.e. art outside the canon (itself the construct of historians, museums and critics), which is usually made by non-white or non-male artists and can sometimes include folk art. Art Brut, Jean Dubuffet’s taxonomy of “raw art”, from which the idea of ​​outsider comes, defined a narrower idea – art outside the boundaries of mainstream culture, made by prisoners, patients of mental institutions and others existing on the fringes of society and considered rude through its center.

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Works by self-taught black painters James Gibson (left) and Alfred Hair were part of the 2020 show “Living Color: The Art of the Highwaymen” at the Orlando Museum of Art in Florida. Credit… Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel, via Associated Press

This heading would include the graffiti writers who emerged in the late 1970s and early 1980s in New York—children, mostly, who lived in the outer boroughs of the city, who worked in unlit tunnels and under threat of arrest and harm corporeal to invent an original form of American expressionism. Graffiti was not a way of making art taught in schools, and it still isn’t, even if its practitioners eventually received gallery exhibitions and incorporated their visual language into mainstream design and advertising. The classification also includes the Highwaymen, a collective of self-taught black painters who in the 1950s created Fauvist landscapes of subtropical Floridian splendor by painting on roof boards and transporting them up and down Route 1 along the Florida coast , often selling them before the paint. it was dry. Their method was not entirely born of choice. Barred from gallery representation in the Jim Crow South, they set out to have their own market. This is part of the subtext of the idea of ​​being self-taught. Often what we are really talking about is self-determination.

Tips For The (serious) Self Taught Artist

The bitter taste of exclusion, the willful ignorance of the guardians of art who man the pasture of a well-mannered group, is a very real history with which the art world continues to reckon. But today, being self-taught has become less something to overcome than something to advertise. The concept is still loaded, but its weight tilts it toward the desirable. He finds attractive the artists who simply refuse to adhere to a straight path, the mavericks who reject the beauty of the school system or are allergic to its structures or who simply cannot be bothered to attend, people whom Dubuffet referred to as refusers—“individuals who refuses to eat with a spoon, who refuses to use common language, who refuses to act like other people, who refuses to put shoes on his feet and a hat on his head. They refuse everything. And if they get involved in making art, then they go very far in their refusal, further than others.” How far a particular self-taught artist’s refusal goes varies widely, of course. But at the very least, it almost certainly involves less debt.

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Two years ago, Georgian artist Tamo Jugeli was accepted to the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf in Germany, where she applied mainly to get out of Georgia. After a short visit, she refused to attend. “It was amazing, but it wasn’t for me,” she said. “I’m not a loner, but I’m not part of groups. I couldn’t see myself there.” (This experience mirrored an earlier one, when Jugeli was 8 years old and her parents enrolled her in a painting class. “Everyone says they liked to paint and draw when they were little, but I never had any interest ” she said. “I hated it. The teacher pressured me to paint realistically. And I just left.” Now 28, Jugeli, whose soft, globular abstracts were recently seen at Polina Berlin Gallery on New York’s Upper East Side, she entered the art world through a side door. She set out to study journalism and found work editing videos for television, with which she soon became dissatisfied. She bought some ” It was the first time I saw [his] real art and not Instagram tiles,” she said, flipping through his portfolio. “I felt so happy, but also so devastated,” she explained, because she saw how far she had to go to be successful. He was polite, but there wasn’t much to say. It was only after Jugeli started painting with oils – “breaking my old style” – that Edzgveradze became a sort of informal mentor, not exactly teaching her the mechanics of painting, but pointing her to texts and artist biographies, so that to be able to make their own. reading.

“If you ask me, everyone is self-taught,” Jugeli said. “I don’t want to say I was alone and did it all by myself, because I had a lot of support, but I don’t think you can learn how to make art – you either have it or you don’t.”

Raymond Pettibon, photographed in 2019. Credit… © Raymond Pettibon. Courtesy of the artist and David Zwirner. Photo: Jason Schmidt

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An early work by Pettibon, “No Title (My girlfriend’s earring…)” (1984). Credit… © Raymond Pettibon. Courtesy of the artist and David Zwirner

Prolific artist Raymond Pettibon, 65, whose drawings have been exhibited since the 1980s, described art school as “just against my personality, I guess”. “Art school,” he continued, “is a socialization process, and there’s a lot of unspoken, tacit knowledge. I wasn’t interested in the career part, getting ahead. My trajectory is not a model of values ​​that you should approach in building your career.”

Pettibon enjoyed drawing as a child, a habit he cultivated while pursuing a degree in economics at U.C.L.A., which he earned in 1977, and then briefly while teaching middle and high school math. By the time he was fully committed to his career, “I had rather lost interest as far as pursuing a Ph.D. or teaching or going into the corporate world,” he said. “I think art school encourages business encroachment much more than it used to. It’s gravitated more that way. I don’t want to say that it’s frowned upon – I hope not – to be more of a generalist, self-educated or self-taught, but I think it’s quite rare. This has held me back for some time. The bureaucracies of the world of museums, universities, academia, that kind of professionalism I don’t think did me any good. But at the end of the day, they don’t run the show.”

There is also the question of who is exposed to the idea of ​​art school in the first place. Artist Jammie Holmes, who paints nuanced depictions of black life in the Deep South and didn’t visit a museum until he was 30, became an expert at drawing partly out of necessity. “I didn’t have access to anything,” he said of his childhood in Thibodaux, Louisiana. “I didn’t know what a printer was; when I was in seventh grade, my grandmother had a picture of her great-grandmother that no one else had, and I was the copyist. You had no posters

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