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Evelyne Schoenmann

Qotw: Is Your Artistic Practice A Product Of Genetics Or The Environment?

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Good morning America, good afternoon Europe, Africa and South Africa, good evening Australia and Asia

 

This week I am happy to present the question of another guest, our forum member Tom, aka TJR. He has the following question and challenge for us:

 

Is your artistic practice a product of genetics or the environment? Are you an artist despite your family or because of them?
In my family, I grew up in a beige house. Beige, carpet, drapes and couch. My mom added numbers together to relax. My dad was like McGiver, creative, resourceful,ingenious.
I am an artist, my sister is an interior designer, my other sister is a photographer.

What's YOUR story?

 

 

Thank you Tom for the idea of a great QOTW topic!

 

Evelyne

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I believe mine was environment in unusual circumstances, I became a visual learner at a early age because I was 60 percent deaf until I was 5.  I learned how to talk by watching peoples mouths move, even though my hearing is fixed I still do that.  My parents didn't care at all about arts or even decorating the house, my dad loved color TV.  We were the first ones on the block that had one, he would watch and spend hours adjusting the color.  Most of the time he didn't even have the sound on. I am the only one in my family that is artistic.  I'm not sure if it was the color TV or the visual learning that sent me in that direction.     Denice

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I don't know where I came from artistically but I was always involved somehow in a stiff, scientific way as I mentioned in some previous posts. My brother doesn't have a creative bone in his body. My wife-to-be and I used to sit together in high school art classes and she was the amazingly naturally talented one as was her sister. I can't explain where their talents came from, knowing their parents. I went on to be a pharmacist and only a few years ago resumed stimulating my creative juices with pottery. My wife has been involved with many artistic endeavors such as clothing design, managing a theater costume shop, and teaching art in grade school.

 

As proof for a combination of genetics and environment, my three kids, all in their 30's now are extremely talented artists beginning when they were old enough to hold a crayon. They were all always known as the artists when growing up and in school. My oldest son is now the creative director of a video game company. My middle son is a web developer which is a lot more artistic than it sounds. My daughter is a graphic designer for a children's clothing company. Each of them is also very active creating art outside of their professional lives.

 

Paul

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No one in my family is artistic, although my mom and siblings all appreciate art. I was not allowed to take art in high school, even though I REALLY wanted to, because I was 'college prep', and my HS was trying to get girls to go to college (this was the '60s). I started college as a math major, but changed to art after finally getting to take an art class. The rest is history.

 

My family is fascinated by my artistic ability and amazed at how my pottery has developed over the years. I have NEVER been sorry that I changed my major and graduated with a BA in art. 

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First, I want to say that I think every single human being has creative talent, but for many it remains untapped as they tell everyone that they're not talented. I think that the reason it often seems to run in families is as much environment as inherited talent.

 

My dad is in the process of retiring from 40+ years of running his construction business and becoming a potter. He eventually became a master mason making truly beautiful stonework. He found a creative outlet by working artistic details into his construction jobs.

 

My mom is a talented artist but spent 30+ years raising 7 kids. We would fabric paint T-shirts, make doll clothes, bake cinnamon rolls, and play dress up.

 

I learned from both my parents, why buy it if you can make it. My first impulse with anything is to explore whether making it is a viable option and often the answer is yes. I sew, crochet, make jewelry, cook, and garden. I've worked as a professional photographer so I take all the family portraits.

 

Most of my sisters sew and crochet (so does my dad); we have many talented cooks who make family dinners memorable to say the least, we all decorate our homes, garden, and have brothers-in-law who are skilled carpenters building furniture and guitars. All of this is for hobbies. I'm the first one in my family to really pursue being an artist who sells their work, and I'm quite pleased to say that this has encouraged others to open up to that idea as well. My dad (despite being a very pragmatic person) has never told me that it's impractical and in fact has always encouraged and supported any creative pursuit of any of us. I think its because he wanted that but didn't feel it was a choice he could make and support his family. Now, we frequently work together and it's a fantastic experience to share with my dad.

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I can't say my genetics led to being a potter, but my family heritage includes farmers and inventors.
I think that may be why I like to tinker and make tools for specific jobs.I guess the closest I have is my Irish great great grandfather made plaster decorative pieces on the ceilings of Victorian houses. And I am somehow related to the Arts and crafts printer, William Seltzer Rice. Abraham Seltzer was in the Textile Industry in Germantown and Jonathan Seltzer was at Enterprise manufacturing in Kensington Philadelphia, and George Selsor patented numerous pieces for his company, Germantown Tool works in Germantown, Philadelphia.His Coffee grinder was in the Industry Building in the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Phila.  I have been doing a lot of genealogy in my retirement.  :rolleyes:

Marcia

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My mom was a bookkeeper and my dad a programmer ... none of my siblings have any interest in the arts.  My dad's mother painted in oils (and did flower arranging in southern lady garden club competitions) but never encouraged any of the grands to follow in her footsteps.  My parents never discouraged us from pursuing whatever interested us and my dad insisted that all us girls be able to change the oil in our car and know how to jump start it.  I think that's why I'm not afraid of tools and building stuff.  Our local school system arts was another story.  If you could not draw or paint with photo realistic detail you were strongly discouraged from taking art classes ... they were for "artists"...and this was from middle school on.

 

I compensated by going into the design end of computer databases, becoming pretty decent at DIY home projects and trying every craft under the sun.  I think pottery will be my last as I've caught the fever and I'm not looking for a cure!

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My family is full of artist. None of them pursued it as a profession. However my dad can carve or paint or do anything artistic with his hands, and my brother is the same. My wife creates beautiful quilts.

 

We were always encouraged to do anything artistic that we wanted. I took painting lessons, and drawing lessons when I was a kid, although I never stuck with it. Clay has always been my truest joy.

 

When I was a kid I would buy Sculpty clay and make figurines and animals. I still make them today, except that now I do it for my son and he plays with them as toys. Every time he finds a new show he likes or a game he enjoys, I always get the classic, "Daddy, can we build 'insert character name' out of clay today." Of course I usually end up doing it, and I get great joy out of it. He never really made anything he wanted to keep. Recently now that he is almost 5, he has been making a lot of stuff out of clay and having me cook it. It is nice that he is becoming creative because of the stuff I have been making him for several years.

 

I think most people secretly wants to be artistic in some way. It is just rewarding to work with your hands. I think a lot of our creative sides get placed into the gutter because we need to "find real jobs". However a lot of that is changing now. Artist and Graphic designers are needed in much greater quantities than before thanks to all the games and animations being created these days. 

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I hope this QOTW get pinned to the top soon...

 

Very interesting backgrounds here. Thank you all for providing.

 

My background is not filled with artistic people. My Dad was not artistic at all, but he had a green thumb!! He could get everything to blossom. Despite working at Swiss Railway in an office, he always was in his garden after work. My Mum was very good in drawing when she was a kid and was singing in a choir as a young girl. After the marriage she was looking after 3 children and was helping her sister in their hotel. My sis is a naturopath and my brother a kindergarten teacher. Seems I am the only artist in the family. My husband is a Business Consultant/Advisor, no help there too....

 

Evelyne

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My fathers family was very creative, talented seamstresses, painters, woodworkers, gardeners,crafters. My creativity was encouraged and I became a floral designer. My sister is a wonderful photographer, and quilter. I have always felt a strong connection to my creative fore bearers. My love of pottery started in highschool and went dormant while I raised my kids. I was able to finally explore clay as a hobby as an empty nester.

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My family is full of artist. None of them pursued it as a profession. However my dad can carve or paint or do anything artistic with his hands, and my brother is the same. My wife creates beautiful quilts.

 

We were always encouraged to do anything artistic that we wanted. I took painting lessons, and drawing lessons when I was a kid, although I never stuck with it. Clay has always been my truest joy.

 

When I was a kid I would buy Sculpty clay and make figurines and animals. I still make them today, except that now I do it for my son and he plays with them as toys. Every time he finds a new show he likes or a game he enjoys, I always get the classic, "Daddy, can we build 'insert character name' out of clay today." Of course I usually end up doing it, and I get great joy out of it. He never really made anything he wanted to keep. Recently now that he is almost 5, he has been making a lot of stuff out of clay and having me cook it. It is nice that he is becoming creative because of the stuff I have been making him for several years.

 

I think most people secretly wants to be artistic in some way. It is just rewarding to work with your hands. I think a lot of our creative sides get placed into the gutter because we need to "find real jobs". However a lot of that is changing now. Artist and Graphic designers are needed in much greater quantities than before thanks to all the games and animations being created these days. 

Grype;

I think you hit the nail on the head here. I think almost everyone is visual or relates in a visual way some how. Picture the lecture where the guy gets up and reads the text from his Power Point. Way more interesting a talk if you include pictures of what you are talking about.Art is still not that valued in school for some reason, but in industry people are crying out for creative people.

TJR.

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I hope this QOTW get pinned to the top soon...

 

Very interesting backgrounds here. Thank you all for providing.

 

My background is not filled with artistic people. My Dad was not artistic at all, but he had a green thumb!! He could get everything to blossom. Despite working at Swiss Railway in an office, he always was in his garden after work. My Mum was very good in drawing when she was a kid and was singing in a choir as a young girl. After the marriage she was looking after 3 children and was helping her sister in their hotel. My sis is a naturopath and my brother a kindergarten teacher. Seems I am the only artist in the family. My husband is a Business Consultant/Advisor, no help there too....

 

Evelyne

Evelyne;

I also look at gardening as being creative. I have a large garden by the river and am out there every morning. I can hear the bush beans rumbling from here.

T.

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A garden is very creative to me. A lot of work and planning goes into the art of nature.

I'm getting better at mine. It is 40 feet by 35. I have to step up and keep up with the weeds as the president of the garden society has the plot next to me. Every year gets better, and I think about it all winter long.

I am currently picking cucumbers, bush beans, peas and tomatoes.

TJR.

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Well, actually you are right, Grype and Tom. Gardening is really a creative thing to do. So I edit my post and say: my Dad was creative in his garden and my Mum was a good drawer when she was young. Grype, you have a good point there in your post!

 

Sunshyne: Welcome to this forum! Happy to see new people here. When did you start again working in clay? Only recently or a while ago? What kind of work are you doing? We are such a curious bunch here!

 

Evelyne

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my dad's parents were the artists.  grandpa did spectacular model ships and furniture and grandma did beautiful water colors. oddly, my work is silly and sloppy and theirs was so meticulous and precise. go figure. rack

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"Finally, a craft you can make money with!" That's what my Dad said when he bought me my first wheel when I was 27. My Mom, an Executive Secretary and sister and I all crafted and sewed, Dad was a Chrysler Mechanic who built furniture and tied flies. I was always "the artist in the family," so I'm sure Dad was a bit anxious by then about my prospects.

 

When my Mom was in her 60's, she took watercolor classes and acquitted herself quite well. Now, I could tell her, "Where did you think I got it from?"

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"Finally, a craft you can make money with!" That's what my Dad said when he bought me my first wheel when I was 27. My Mom, an Executive Secretary and sister and I all crafted and sewed, Dad was a Chrysler Mechanic who built furniture and tied flies. I was always "the artist in the family," so I'm sure Dad was a bit anxious by then about my prospects.

 

When my Mom was in her 60's, she took watercolor classes and acquitted herself quite well. Now, I could tell her, "Where did you think I got it from?"

I guess that would be another way of phrasing the QOTW. Where did you get it from?

T.

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Mom sewed, Dad would draw or sketch in his spare time. They both took a poured ceramics class and did several things for around the house when we were stationed at Hikam. I never got into it. No one in the family was to into art, grandparents were hard working farmers, that helped with the war effort during the war, grandpa was an electrician working the ship yard in NewPort News. Sisters do crafts to some degree, one sews, one does stained glass. The youngest is not so much into craft, but manages dig sites and does displays for PA History museum(curator). So I was seduced by the Dark Side! :unsure:

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Cant imagine anyone in my family took to arts ,farfar away none into art world..coming from family of engineers,doctors, art seemed beyond expectations...still took to my stride.

 

I suppose the imaginative words inculcated during childhood(Schooldays)dived me into artistic world....

What is this life if, full of care, / We have no time to stand and stare. "by Davies.

 

 

 

 

Vinks!

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Cant imagine anyone in my family took to arts ,farfar away none into art world..coming from family of engineers,doctors, art seemed beyond expectations...still took to my stride.

 

I suppose the imaginative words inculcated during childhood(Schooldays)dived me into artistic world....

What is this life if, full of care, / We have no time to stand and stare. "by Davies.

 

 

 

 

Vinks!

Vinks;

Great quote. I often find myself standing and staring. Looking at sun flowers at the moment. Some in my yard. Some in my garden.They are beautiful, and none the same.

TJR.

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I'm a 4th generation business owner.   My family always stressed to do something where you would be able to at the very least afford the style of living you grew up with.  I have one great aunt that was a somewhat successful oil and canvas painter.   She had the most gorgeous house and I spent lots of time there and would have been most interested in being some type of artist if my family had not always stressed that she "married" that house and lifestyle.  My Gran said "marry as well as your Aunt Frances and you can be an artist."  I actually picked up a minor in art in undergraduate but never even thought about getting graduate degrees in anything but business.   It was years before I realized that artists could actually make a living.  Now I tell all the children in the family that they can make it in anything.

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Dad was a 30 year career Navy officer specializing in security. Mom was a housewife. Grandparents did as Pres's did - helped in the war effort by welding in the Mobile, AL shipyard. Grandma was the first woman welder in Mississippi. They went back to being a truckdriver and housewife with huge gardens. Grandpa on Dad's side continued in welding as his profession - mainly repairing logging trucks and farm equipment in Mississippi. Grandpa on Mom's side could play most any musical instrument he picked up. This would be the only artistry in our family.

 

When I was a kid I loved to buy the model planes and cars and such and painstakingly put them together in a neat manner with decals in the right places. Little brother would gob glue on everything and just mush it all together - I guess that could be creative in a way.

 

I too was groomed for college, no art classes, ever. I just kind of fell into pottery in college and it was fun. Started taking art classes, it was fun. This just irked Dad to no end - he wanted an accountant. Took a 7 year hiatus from college. Went back and got 2 degrees the accountant for him and the programmer for me. And I just pushed the artist in me further into the background for 30 years.

 

Till now.

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