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Nine Warning Signs Of An Amateur Artist

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What?    83

Professional Amateur potter here. Hello reality? It takes a lot to become a Professional. How do I know this? I read the Artist's bios, exhibitions, workshops, education, work history, awards, publications, etc. Mine reads years at the community center and community college attended a couple of workshops have a home studio in the garage.  

 

Yeah no $40-$150 price tag on my yunomis. I have seen some of these professionals come up and some of it is fantastic and others are lets say not my style. But there they are doing the work that is required to be a professional. Kudos to you. Much envy on my end. Pride and Sloth are big proponents in my failures. Which are only symptoms of fear.

 

My six year old grandson told me just the other day out of the blue as we were walking towards the cancer clinic "Never trust fear Grandpa". Still floored by this.

 

I did bookmark this article and wrote down the name of that book. It's a start.

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JBaymore    1,432

My six year old grandson told me just the other day out of the blue as we were walking towards the cancer clinic "Never trust fear Grandpa". Still floored by this.

 

The Force is strong in this one!  Wow.

 

best,

 

...................john

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JBaymore    1,432

Another good read in this general area of discussion is Malcolm Gladwell's book "The Outliers".

 

It discusses what it takes to be "world class" in most any field.  And it is NOT mainly about 'talent'.

 

best,

 

...................john

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glazenerd    816

I read the article for the third time this morning; and have concluded myself guilty of all nine. So let me give an amateur response: my ability in communication is rather amateur as well. I do not view art as a work ethic, or a set of skills, nor the ability to fill a shelf with awards and accolades from your peers. Art is a personal expression, interpretation, and/or a representation of how someone views the world and those things that are in it. All those terms the art world have come up with to categorize those various snapshots: and even those are abstract. Art is a uniquely human endeavor, and therefore subject to the strengths and weaknesses of humanity. A five year old child doing a simple finger painting is every bit as connected to that work as the great masters were to theirs. Da Vinci spent his life going through periods of inspiration, then followed by long periods of utter disdain for the medium. Very few artists are ever completely satisfied with their works, which is part of the process of defining your voice.

 

The concept of creativity should be separated from the concept of art. Art comes from years of personal experience with the medium of choice, and the skill sets can be learned over time. Creativity however is a direct reflection and expression of the human spirit. Some define creativity as an instinct, others classify it as a gifting, and yet others attach divine inspiration. No one has ever been able to define it in definitive terms; and I suspect no one ever will. Even the most famous have never been able to qualify where that intuitive  ability comes from, but rather just accept it as a gift. Art is truly a gift; both to the artist from which it springs forth, and to those who have the pleasure to enjoy them. While their may be a set of disciplines that need to be honed and nurtured over a period of time; the ability to create an expression of the human spirit is a gift.

 

Tom

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RonSa    189

Well Said Tom, I wish I didn't run out of likes (didn't know that could happen)

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GEP    863

Amateur, Professional, really doesn't matter. . .

 

Pres, this is absolutely correct in an overall sense about being a potter or ceramics artist.

 

But again, this is the Business section of the forum where the discussion should be about running a ceramics business. Anyone who is serious about it needs to be comfortable making this distinction. Especially in the sense that these common mistakes will stop you from succeeding. There is nothing to fear about being judged on these subjects. Judgement is a part of life, and growth, and the art world is no different. And ultimately if one decides "I like who I am and I'm unwilling to give up important parts of myself in order to adapt to the business world," then this is a valid choice to make. Professionals are not looking down on anyone who does.

 

Again, this article is targeted to those who WISH to join the professional world, but are stuck in a limbo state because they are hanging on to non-professional ways of thinking.

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JBaymore    1,432

"Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent."

 

Calvin Coolidge
 

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RonSa    189

That's what its like in any business world.

 

“The 'C' students run the world.†~  Harry Truman

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LeeU    330

YEA Mea...thanks...your last comment helps me understand the intent at the heart of the text/headings that I overreacted to.

 

"...this is the Business section of the forum where the discussion should be about running a ceramics business.Anyone who is serious about it needs to be comfortable making this distinction. Especially in the sense that these common mistakes will stop you from succeeding...stuck in a limbo state because they are hanging on to non-professional ways of thinking."

 

I appreciate all the comments that cut through the snarky tone that tainted the article (for me, that obscured the validity of the observations regarding professional thinking/behavior for running a business). I have no problem with judgements as constructive criticism, i.e. critical thinking, reasoned debate, but I also have no truck with blanket negative assertions about the shortcomings of the amateur artist, with no apparent foundation. I used the term "data" loosely in that context. In my experience, many amateur artists are involved in an art community, work as hard and in a similar manner to professionals, and don't just act like "wannabes" with no forward movement toward running a business/turning pro, when they do indeed wish to enter that arena.  Maybe the view depends on which side of the fence you're looking from. As GEP notes, the issue is about running a ceramics business, not "us vs. them". 

 

I did an experiment where I mentally re-framed each of the article headings, i.e." #1 Amateur Artists wait for Inspiration." and changed it to: Mistake #1: Waiting for Inspiration. Then I rewrote the text in my head to something like: Non-professional thinking is waiting until the mood strikes to do your work, and your business will suffer. Professionals have a disciplined approach to their work day...etc., etc........." and that helped me to see what the core point was, without the put-down. 

 

The focus on "common mistakes" and "non-professional ways of thinking" conveys the heart of the matter. Identifying and avoiding obstacles to succeeding is essential for professionals, and is certainly useful for others as well.  Viewing those 9 elements as "common mistakes/non-professional thinking" offers guidance on what to watch out for and avoid (rather than shaming the "wannabe",even if he/she is never going to make it). Clarifying the downside of the limitations of "non-professional ways of thinking" is objective, pragmatic, and dynamically useful business-building advice. I did re-write the guts of the list in order to make it useful as a self-inventory--a check list that I can use (think: Do This-Not That) to guard against "...being stuck in a limbo state...", which is crucial for self improvement.

 

Oh--and I am pleased to announce that now that I am no longer sick I have some great looking photos, each piece with a product code and descriptive text, for the first three categories (of 13) that will go on my web site.   :)

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Mark C.    1,808

Not sure about nine signs I think its a larger number.

This piece speaks to many ideas.

There are so many levels of ceramicist’s

From hobbyist to professional full timers

To teachers who make art or pots on the side.

And all the levels in between.

In my 40 years of making a living with clay not teaching I find the full timers to be a small group.

Most folks do not understand how we do it. They have crazy ideas on how it works. Usually it goes like this how much do you work? How do you make the same thing over and over?

Many hobbyists think it’s a grind pumping out the same forms over and over. It’s nothing like that really. I hear I only want to make what I want a lot. That’s fine but that is not a professional in functional pottery-it can work with a ceramic sculptural artist. Discipline is the key

A long time ago like in high school and early in art collage I made what I wanted. As time went by and I started selling in Collage I began to realize what people wanted to buy-that became a way to work in clay and make a living. People Pay me to work in my studio-they have for over 40 years. I can make whatever I want but that freedom also is countered by it needs to sell on some level. You learn what that is by doing-not talking about it. The only way to learn this is by doing it.

I know most folks in clay are not ever going to be a professional in that field-that’s fine.

It takes so many other factors besides being a good potter to make a living in this field.

Amateur artist in clay or painting or photography are very common. I see them at art shows every time I do one. They are testing the waters-usually last a few shows or years. I think it’s the same in all art venues. The ones that last figure out what it takes and keep up with the changes in market condition and have the drive/persistence and personality to make it.

I takes a different kind of person that can make it thru life doing it your own way. Like that Frank Sinatra song. I do not think one can know  about this fully until you become that person.

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preeta    80

the article was interesting for sure. gave a lot of food for thought. as well as the discussion that follows. 

 

it validated what a lot of my profs at the community college have said. the artists who are able to live by their art are the ones who persisted. including the kid who is paying for medical school by painting portraits that sell. it doesn't mean those who made it made the best art. 

 

in a sense though can we really even speak about 'art' and 'creativity' here. as a student who eventually wants to become a professional ceramicist there is that whole place of what i want to make and what the market wants to buy. i would be lucky if they were one and the same thing, but it might not be so in my case. i know at times i have to put my personal inquiry aside and just do the 'popular' work for the local show.  

 

no matter what i know i want my hands to be in clay. hopefully life will afford me the opportunities that allows me to make clay my profession, but if it doesn't for whatever reason (life happens) my hands will always be in clay. 

 

the other side of me paints and dabbles in printing too, which affects my clay work. ultimately though in my life clay is queen. its an obsession that keeps life from being boring. 

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JBaymore    1,432

One of the most famous, broadly recognized and celebrated ceramists in Japan was what you might call an "amateur" ceramist.  Definitely a part-time ceramist.  But lived a life of art.  And FOOD!

 

Rosanjin Kitaojii. 

 

best,

 

....................john

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glazenerd    816

Art evokes an emotional response. Given the responses, this article therefore should be viewed as such. Passion is a key part of any artist; so the reactions to this piece should have been expected. Even the goal of educating emerging ceramicists has been met, now they realize there is no one set path to achieve success in this industry. Pottery can be a business, it can be art, and it can be hobby. Being an old farm boy, my view point tends to be more simplistic: you will reap what you sow.

 

Nerd

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GiselleNo5    464

i have had "art and fear" for years but i am afraid to open it.

 

giselle, years ago ceramics monthly had an article about a potter whose goal was modest.  seven bowls a day for seven weeks.  the photo of the final result showed about a billion bowls laid out on the floor of a huge space.  i am no good at math, someone who is can multiply it.

 

This year I told myself, I will make 2 pieces/day 4 days/week. I can do this either two items at a time or one big batch, whatever my schedule permits. End of the month goal is to have 32 items, every month. I have been throwing and finishing one big batch in two weeks, and the other two weeks glazing and photographing and listing pieces online. The upshot is that I have had FORTY pieces for each of the past two months. This is not much, I know, to someone like Mea. :) I see her shelves and shelves full of work and think it unlikely I will ever work at that volume. But last year I think I made 100 pieces all year, and this year I have made 80 already. 

 

And to answer your question it's 7x7x7 = 343 bowls. :) If he really made them every day. 

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Mark C.    1,808

Hey are any of the nine signs these.?????

 

Driving into town and leaving the list of too does behind ?

Going outside to check the glaze fire get side tracked and end wondering what I'm doing out there?

Throwing the wrong two dozen forms that you thought you where throwing after you finish the last one?

Worrying that you missed the show as it could have been the weekend before this one?

You find yourself throwing pots in studio and realize this is the day you need to leave for a 2.5 day drive to show. 

At the show you realize you forgot the 4 extra boxes of mugs at home?

On the two day drive you realize you forgot the cash register and visa machine?Call home and have it fedx to show hotel next day.

Get to show at Park City and realize your visa machine does not have signal at all

Set up a double booth and realize your forgot all the side curtains to close up on an outside city show.

 

Ok these have all happened to me and I recovered from them all.

I have another 9 or 18 if that helps.

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Marcia Selsor    1,301

I am having a good Spring despite being burdened to finishing moving and selling our house in Texas.

I got invited to a ceramics Invitational by a gallery owner in Missoula, Mt. He said he found my work with compelling and exquisite. I asked him if he could be more specific about which work he found this way. After 10 years in South Texas trying new galleries with little feedback or enthusiasm but entering competitions successfully,I really dedicated myself to new processes. This gallery owner's response to my work floored me. He got it. He got it better than I express it myself. I was amazed and appreciative of his comments and compliments. I am excited to be included in the ceramics invitational. The roster is not yet finalized, but the past two years included ceramic artists internationally recognized, so I am happy. I am invited to be in a group show in Nye , Montana and demonstrate as well as give a gallery talk June 2. Plus I have been invited to teach a class in San Miguel de Allende next summer 2018 as well as at Tuscarora Pottery School in Nevada- just across Yellowstone park. So I am pleased with my Spring so far...and I love what came out of the wood firing in April. Due to my studio being disassembled until February, it was the first finished work of the year for me.

 

I taught a seminar using Art and Fear. Great book for Art Students or people searching for their voice.The author also wrote "From the Studio Door". I thought that article on the 9 ways to recognize amateurs was an interesting take. Not sure I agree either. Perseverence is the key to development whether is is professional or part time.

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Chris Campbell    1,088

I find the article to be bang on true ...

if it raises your hackles and makes you feel defensive then you should ask yourself why.

 

If you are an amateur ... and there is nothing wrong with this word ... it is not meant for you.

Chill ... enjoy your lifestyle and your work.

 

If you want to be taken seriously as a working potter then read it and learn.

 

As a comment on the value of natural talent ...

This past Saturday I watched seven year olds playing soccer ... 20 on the field and maybe 3 with obvious talent.

Then a couple kids who just ran towards any ball, were rightly or wrongly in the midst of the action and just ran like crazy.

If I had to bet on who makes it to the higher level ... give me the trier ... not the natural talent.

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Pres    896

Several times as a teacher, we would discuss the types of students we would see. All too often, it was the one that was driven, or worked hard at everything whether they had talent or not, they loved what they were doing and driven to do better. On the other hand we had a saying that will offend some of you. When describing a talented kid, one who had everything going, knew it, acted like it, but were too lazy to finish most anything because it bored them or it was just an assignment. . . . wasted meat. Sad, but all too often would be that way. When talking about a professional in business, how many struggle to learn and overcome, and make it because they persevered. How many that seemingly  had it all in the bag, because they were sooooo talented, were just a flash in the pan!

 

For Mea,

I realize that this is a business forum, but the door about professional and amateur was opened up, at the same time the nine common mistakes, stand for almost anything in life. Just change the titles to see how it sounds, too bad some of the lessons are never learned and things like a business plan are often not taught in many venues.

 

 

best,

Pres

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GiselleNo5    464

I feel almost a little bit insulted to have all the years of hard work and study, teaching myself to throw and largely teaching myself other ceramic techniques dismissed as "talent". If I have any talent it is in a strong sense of color and composition that I think I've had since childhood, and in a dogged persistence to get things "right". Gary Larsen, creator of the Far Side comic, said that his most important piece of equipment was his eraser. In every batch I make adjustments to refine my work.

 

Every chance I get, I tell people: you have to spend a lot of time and make a lot of not-good stuff to get to making the good stuff. I firmly believe that every person is creative in their own way and just as firmly believe that most people never find their creativity or if they do have a creative hobby, they are bound by fear and prevent themselves from being totally free, making mistakes, failing, and through those mistakes and failures eventually creating work that is individually expressive of their inner person. 

 

Years ago I made a costume for a party out of satin which is my least-favorite fabric of all time to sew with. When we cut out the bodice the fabric was not perfectly flat or aligned with the grain and it resulted in a misshapen piece cut on the bias. We discarded that portion of the dress and cut a totally new bodice. When we went to the party we met a girl who had made her own dress, also out of satin. I could see at once that she had a similar problem with the bodice fabric. Only, she had not stopped, re-cut the piece, and done that portion over. The result was a crooked neckline, misshapen sides, and puckered seams because with satin every single mistake shows. I remember looking at that and realizing, it's not that I am a perfect seamstress. It's that when it is not right, I stop, pick out the stitches, and start over, no matter how much I don't want to redo it. 

This is a habit that has happily carried over into my work with ceramics, although it is not quite as easy to "pick out the stitches" or "erase" and add a new piece of clay. :P  

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Marcia Selsor    1,301

I am not sure what talent "is". Competence, standards of excellence? I have always gone back to Leach's In search of Standards. I think that is the title. Not being able to draw a straight line is often used as a reference for one not being an artist. Ridiculous concept.

 

I like the previous statement of the next piece being embedded in the current one. We learn, and grow in response to what we've done.

 

Marcia

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Chris Campbell    1,088

I think 'talent' is easy to spot for a person who knows the field ... whatever it is ... Arts, Sports, Business ... whatever.

If you have an eye for it you can spot it ... they shine.

But ... you need to sit back and watch a while to see is the one who will do whatever it takes to get to their goal.

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bciskepottery    925

All I want to know is: what is a "hackle"

hack·le

 

/ˈhak(ə)l/

 

noun

 

plural noun: hackles; noun: hackle

 

 

1. erectile hairs along the back of a dog or other animal that rise when it is angry or alarmed.

 

2. a long, narrow feather on the neck or saddle of a domestic rooster or other bird.

 

3. a steel comb for separating flax fibers.

 

verb

 

verb: hackle; 3rd person present: hackles; past tense: hackled; past participle: hackled; gerund or present participle: hackling

 

1. dress or comb with a hackle.

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glazenerd    816

Ty Bruce- new word for me. Thought perhaps it was regional slang.

 

Chris: I have gone all in twice in my life, betting and risking all. Trying to decide if I want to do that for the third. Getting to the point where I keep telling myself- let the young people do it. Although, if I only made speciality clay/s; perhaps it would not eat into my time so much.

Nerd

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bciskepottery    925

Ty Bruce- new word for me. Thought perhaps it was regional slang.

Nerd

Actually, thanks to you . . . been around that word all my life, have even used it, but never bothered to check its meaning.

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