Why do People Treat Art Differently?

Learning a traditional method is hard: I spent six months on a graphite value scale where I had to master my darkest dark and get progressively lighter until nothing was left but the white of the paper. Six. Months. I have to do this every time I use a different medium and every time I decided to use a different kind of paper, and this has to be done before attempting a drawing.

Example of Value scale in charcoal

Example of Value scale in charcoal

Now, maybe I’m running into the wrong people, but art students can spot each other a mile away in the city. (It has something to do with carrying a large bag that’s holding 18 x 20 art board I guess!) Whenever I tell people what I’m working on, the reactions are usually in the following category:

“That sounds too hard!”

“Ick, I wouldn’t want to be bad at something before getting good.”

“I can’t take criticism. Art is subjective.”

Now, I’m sorry, but nobody would say this about music. If someone is in music school, and they tell you they are practicing their scales so many hours a day, we consider that right and noble. Once a musician learns the basics, internalizes them with HOURS of practice she then moves on to performing pieces composed by masters before branching out and experimenting with her own creativity. Art is the same: learn value, form, shadow-shapes, measuring, big form modeling, and then move on to master copies so that you can learn to solve the problems the great artists did.

You don’t just get to buy cheap acrylics and a canvas and decide you’re the next Kandinsky by pure power of the will. It’s so arrogant!