Are we born to be artists?

I have began a series of dialogues with various artists from around the world, whose work I respect and admire, to get their perspectives on some of the issues I question myself. Sunday I posed the question: Are we truly born with a gift or is it actually cultivated?

Ehirano is a painter who lives in Mexico. “Our use of light and exploration of shadow is very similar. I have admired the purity of form of style in his work for a long time. He has recently began an on-line magazine called Noisy Rain and is currently hosting the Red Bubble Noisy Rain Magazine Group in which he is creating a collective of male nude artist to showcase their work: “I believe we were born with that thing that makes us choose art in the first place, and the time gives us the tools to develop that need. All in this life needs to be cultivated or otherwise, it simply dies. What has been your experience regarding your evolution as an artist on this issue? I don’t see the art forms as a path of specialization but a simple tool that helps me to express what I want to say and how I want it to say it in that moment. The time has giving me the experience to be more aware of the details. My evolution comes from my “sometimes foolish” need of perfection, but that helps me to always bring out my best, despite the fact the next day I won’t like my work. I was born an artist, but that doesn’t make me an artist, what truly make me an artist is that I never let my need of expression die.”

Ramon Fernandez was originally from the US and went on vacation to Costa Rica 6 years ago and has stayed. He creates the most amazing images with themes of religion and eroticism. His images are dark in tone generally accentuating textures. They are alluring and seductive to look at and study: “To answer your question. I believe the philosophy of nature and nurture. We are born with a gift or without it. It is up to us to cultivate it. Same as in sexuality, I believe we are born with one predisposition and we nurture it. The gift of artistic ability, humanity, sexuality is a life long evolution. We nurture all that is within. We never really change, we just become more fully who we are. This only ends with the end of our life. I am. And who I am is a conglomeration of many things. Man, son, photographer, nurse, helper, travel agent, human, caregiver etc, etc, etc. Strip away all that and who am I? I am. Being a gay male, I am obviously interested in the male form. However, being gay is just a minor part of who I am. I am defined by that only in the sense I am attracted to men. Otherwise I am as normal or abnormal as anyone else. I have always had body image issues. Never really happy with my body. At first the photography was a way to see myself through the eyes of others. It is a boost to my self-esteem. Then I think when I see the comments, especially on this site, about my penis. I feel a bit empty. I want the artwork, not to be only about the nude, but about the textures, emotions, etc. I would like to see less stigma attached to nude male art. Always seems more acceptable for female nudes. But, I believe we are in the era where the male nude is more appreciated and accepted. I am an amateur at photography and I am continually learning. I can already see a progress in my work and will continue nurturing that and allowing it to flower.”

The third artist I wanted to feature is John Douglas from Sydney Australia. John is one of the most influential people in my current life as an emerging artist. His work and images are so prolific in Australia and around the world. Last year I joined a site he created called Man Art: a site for men who create artwork for other men – generally with gay male themes. He is my all time idol and inspiration for beginning the current project: “To answer your question quickly, I think it is combination of both – we are born with certain skills and potentials and then it is up to us whether we work on those – if the potential is small then is down to how much do we/I want to work to get better. At age 8 I decided I would be a painter and since hen have painted always – I think I have no inborn skill at it but I do have a great determination I was born with and have worked hard at improving skills. At art college I was bad at composition and color and so with that insight I concentrated on those and could see I already had some skills acquired with tone. Of course there came a point where I realized I did love where art took me, the insights, and growth, and so see myself always being creative but it all began for me with no talent and a conscious decision I would work at it from 8yo and so I have. I wish I had inborn skills at drawing etc – would make things easier – but so it goes we all work with what we have.”

I myself am rather mixed on this subject. I think it is more growth and cultivation then actual talent. When I began I knew nothing and was born into a ranch family who only knew of the earth and hard work. I had an inkling that I was destine to create, and it has always given me comfort. I think my talents and skills have actually been cultivated and grow with each new experience. I would say my talents are more based on perseverance to discover meaning and identity.