TEACHER CORNER | How to become an artist

by David A. Caballero, Jr.
Master Teacher I
Camarines Sur National High School, Naga City

Not everybody can become a medical doctor, lawyer, teacher or scientist. These are professions that require time, money, education and intellectual aptitude. Nonetheless, most of the skills and knowledge necessary to become a professional in medicine, law, pedagogy and scientific research can be formally learned. Becoming an artist is not totally different from these professions but there is something inherently informal about art that cannot be learned in school. There are aspects of art that can only be learned by an individual who has the innate artistic talent. It is almost something that is instinctive.

Art mainly requires talent and passion. Without these two ingredients, a person cannot possibly be considered an artist. Expressing ideas and emotions in creative ways is the hallmark of an artist. Hence, when it comes to art, talent without passion is empty and passion without talent is futile. Even with great enthusiasm, practice and formal training or education, a dedicated and passionate person cannot expect to create great works of art without talent. There is simply a natural limit to the abilities of individuals not only in art but also in other aspects. For instance, someone who is born deaf and mute cannot possibly become an opera singer.

Becoming an artist is more of a vocation rather than a profession. Although most artists derive income from their art works, the real reward is in the process of creating art works. An art work could be a painting, sculpture, music or literature. The appreciation of others and the monetary gains are only secondary in importance for many artists. This is the second necessary aspect of becoming an artist. It is the passion factor necessary to have the drive to create masterpieces. Most of the most creative and talented artists live in order to create something that can elicit admiration, inspiration and evoke some level of epiphany or deep realization.

Art deals with the aesthetics and ephemeral truths of existence. Art tries to encapsulate and immortalize the otherwise transient beauty and reality of everyday life, nature and emotions. Becoming an artist is about having a good eye for capturing these ephemeral truths. For instance, a brief smile of a baby could be immortalized in a photograph or painting. The fluid motion of a dancer can be frozen in a sculpture yet preserving the grace of the pose. Becoming an artist is about trying to make sense of the mortal and temporary within the context of the eternal. Art is the attempt to achieve transcendence.