Here’s a secret: With very few exceptions, there’s no such thing as intrinsic artistic genius. It's a myth.
There’s a sentiment I hear too often and one I’d love to see disappear. This comes in the form of phrases like, “I’m not artistic”, "I don’t have a creative bone in my body”, "I can’t paint” and/or "I have no talent”.
This simply isn’t true. I have yet to meet one single person in my teaching career who was completely devoid of all artistic talent.
The biggest difference between those who have an easier time and those who struggle is experience, not talent.
Many people have the misconception that artists just know how to draw or paint from memory or from a knowing place deep within them. There are exceptions, but most of us have to rely on practice, the use of reference materials, and the development of a critical eye that comes only with experience.
A couple of examples...
I’ve never been an athlete or in any way geared toward feats of strength. But the primary reason for that isn’t due to the limitations of my body. If I were to start going to yoga four times a week it’s likely that within weeks I’d struggle less, enjoy it more, and feel more flexible and centered in my body. I don’t lack the “right" body for yoga (because there is no such thing), l’ve lacked a willingness to make it a priority.
Art, like yoga, is very accessible to all ages, minds, goals, and abilities.
I also can’t play the guitar. I can’t play the guitar because I’ve chosen to center my creative focus on other things, not because I’m not musically gifted. If I took lessons, practiced, and built up my calluses, I’d be playing in less than a year. I may not be writing my own music and touring professionally, but I could play well enough to enjoy myself and express myself musically. And isn’t that the point?
If your dream is to become a professional artist then art school, apprenticeship, and/or professional development should be part of your plan. But...
If you want to express yourself creatively there are NO prerequisites!
Show up. Occasionally for the fun of it or more often to improve your skills. That’s it. You are an artist.