A colleague of mine emailed me this article from the New Yorker: “Late Bloomers: Why do we equate genius with precocity?” by Malcolm Gladwell. Briefly, it challenges the notion that genius or artistic zenith only happens when one is young. As an artist in her late 20’s I can honestly say that I do fret over the idea that I should be at my artistic peak. Especially when one considers how the art market typically seems to devour its “emerging artists” young.
Funnily enough the descriptions of late bloomer art process seems remarkably similar to mine:
But late bloomers, Galenson says, tend to work the other way around. Their approach is experimental. “Their goals are imprecise, so their procedure is tentative and incremental,” Galenson writes in “Old Masters and Young Geniuses,” and he goes on:
The imprecision of their goals means that these artists rarely feel they have succeeded (emphasis mine—ha!), and their careers are consequently often dominated by the pursuit of a single objective. These artists repeat themselves, painting the same subject many times, and gradually changing its treatment in an experimental process of trial and error. Each work leads to the next, and none is generally privileged over others, so experimental painters rarely make specific preparatory sketches or plans for a painting. They consider the production of a painting as a process of searching, in which they aim to discover the image in the course of making it; they typically believe that learning is a more important goal than making finished paintings. Experimental artists build their skills gradually over the course of their careers, improving their work slowly over long periods. These artists are perfectionists and are typically plagued by frustration at their inability to achieve their goal.
There is hope yet.
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