I used to say, “I can teach skills, but I can’t teach talent.” I’ve changed my mind on this, however, since I believe talent is about developing original ideas, which we all have on some level. The trick is to recognize these thoughts and act on them. This happens for me when I work with collage. By using a system, I’m able to explore new ways to mine ideas from my subconscious. It absolutely surprises me every time I produce a new batch of images. It’s exciting to sit down having no clue where I’m heading and come up with something so bizarre I can hardly recognize myself in it.
Nothing motivates me more then a new way of looking at the world. These collage images do this for me. They use a different thought process than my painting, yet one feeds the other. Collaging is a subconscious free flow, while painting is more of an eye-hand coordination skill. They complement each other.
Best of all, I have this untapped well of ideas sitting in my head. This is exciting, since there is no artist’s block to contend with. When I get bored with what I’m painting, I go back to working on new collages. Each time I sit down to work there are different color variations and structural changes that seem to pop up out of nowhere. There’s no such thing as failure either. If a piece isn’t working, I just add new elements, move images around, create a new point of view.
So I’ve come to the conclusion, “talent” is in the ability to keep an open mind and seek out new ideas to expand on. The trick is to find what works for you.