INSPIRATION POINT//ON DISCIPLINE IN THE ARTS

I was asked to comment on this idea by Wayne Thiebaud in recent discussion: "Discipline is not a restriction but an aid to freedom. It prepares an artist to choose his own limitation. An artist needs the best studio instructors, the most rigorous demands, and the toughest criticism in order to turn up his sensibilities."

I am torn in two separate directions when reading this viewpoint. Think of a child, who is born with natural talent to draw... and think of all that his or her imagination encompases, all before being sent to school or through any kind of training; they are simply seeing the universe as what they know, and putting that down through pen or pencil, crayon, ink or paint... they are letting it flow through them without any further indulgences nor hindrance.

Now, take this child and put them through school, and more specifically art school... with all of its good intentions and rigorous training, slamming down into what this child may have once thought about as art as now wrong and too freeflowing without the imposed limitations of what art and its parameters teach us; now this child's effortless gift is lost, and art must become a painstakingly fashioned medium, without the life or free spirit of limitless imaginations...

Does the implication of what is proper art degrade the substance of its informal creation? Or does the informal interpretation hold more water for the fact that it is a purer art, formally untouched?

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