Art – An innate talent or skill?

Do you have talent? Is it sufficient to make you a professional artist?

Some people are blessed with abilities that others don’t have. All of the talent in the world won’t get you anywhere if you aren’t willing to work hard, push yourself and try new approaches. When we see a fine piece of art or music, we often conclude that the artist must be really gifted. We come to this conclusion because we’re judging the
end result — the artwork itself. We tend to forget about the process and the journey of getting there.

The artist may have been practicing for many years to get to that point. In which case hard work plays a huge role, regardless of whether he/she is naturally gifted or not.

The Observer met some Omani artists to take their opinion on this matter. Majority of them agreed that it is the combination of both, depending on the determination of each to reach the goal.

Nora al Balushi, a young Omani artist who is extremely passionate about drawing, said: “It’s both. Most people fall in a category of left brain and right brain and a combination of the two. Someone who is right-brained has a much better chance of becoming an artist.

Right-brained people have better imaginations and are more creative. But, without using your creativity to learn all there is to know about what you are passionate about, then your talent will be wasted’’.

“Listen, learn, practice, innovate and you will be on your way to being an artist with a chance of being known and respected in the world of art, she elaborated. Most artists don’t even come close to that level, but the ones that work at it will be happier, more satisfied’’.

Hazza al Maamari, a school teacher of arts, said: “Art has elements of skill, just like learning to write an essay has techniques or playing football has techniques. If you never learn those basic skills and steps, then, of course, you will have limited skills!  But, if your education incorporates those techniques and skills, you will become
more skillful’’.

If schools and education incorporate drawing skills as part of their curriculum from a young age, students will show more advanced skills in drawing and different arts. And as we all know the sooner you put hours into something and if you are taught a skill and made to practice it, you will get more skillful”, he explained.

“I absolutely agree that artistic ability is a combination of both talent and practice,” he added. As you say, with practice just about anyone could become fairly proficient with one medium or another. But a truly great can never be the product of mediocre talent, it requires intense practice. The truly great was no different from anyone
else, they simply practiced more”.

All of us are on different art levels. There will always be someone who knows less or more than you. This is what makes our art community such a rich source of knowledge and inspiration. We give each other hope and support to improve our craft. I have artist friends whose work I admire and always drool when I visit their studios. It humbles me, and upon leaving, it makes me realize that I have so much more to learn.