Are artistic passion and talent separate?

Do you have to have talent to have passion for an art-form? I’ve been artsy since forever. But recently I started painting more seriously. In my case that’s a euphemism for I now have some money to buy a decent quantity of supplies and time to use them. The photo above is one of my paintings. It gets complements. “Thanks,” I answer, “but really, I have no talent. I just enjoy doing it.”

“You can’t have one without the other. If you enjoy it, then you must have some talent.”

What? Whoa! Cue the sound of screeching brakes here. If you enjoy an artistic pursuit, you must have talent? I had to think about that. Does one automatically include the other? Does the creative act (painting, dancing, writing, playing the piano) automatically signify some talent, however nascent? In other words, does having an interest, a desire, a yearning indicate talent wanting to express itself?  Could not thinking yourself talented simply be Impostor Syndrome once again rearing it’s ugly head?

Does talent bequeath passion?

If talent bequeaths passion, then the two are linked. Could that explain why we are inevitably drawn to a creative pursuit? Will the talent inevitably push us to express it? For instance, I’ve always wondered about the child prodigy who grows up in an environment where no one does anything art related. Does he or she inevitably gravitate towards their interest? Like a scene in a movie where they see a violin in a store window and know they must have it at all costs. No one in my family paints, or writes for that matter. Regardless, I’ve put an inordinate amount of time into writing stories. I love the process. I also like the challenge of writing something concise, quick and experimental for a blog (aka ‘the lab’). I’d write even if no one ever read another word.

In the opposite way would someone with no talent never pursue an art-form even they are offered it. Think of children made to take piano lessons. Usually they stop as soon as they can and never go near the thing again. I was enrolled in dance lessons. I have no coordination. There was tennis one summer. I disliked not only the sport but the whole ambiance (future sociology major in the making). I played soccer and basketball for years. Was I exceptionally talented? No, but I was good at both and I liked it.

Is there a measure of talent?

Can you measure talent in quantity? As in ‘very talented’. Maybe the only measure is the intensity. Or the amount of time put in. But is that directly related to a measure of talent? As in: if you are very talented you are very intense about it. Do you write or paint or compose when you can, or are you staying up all night toiling away and calling in sick to work?  (Never done that, just saying…) Does one have anything to do with the other, at all? Haven’t we all heard of someone squandering their talent. Obviously other factors are at work.

Some say the only difference is practice, regardless of talent, if any. But wouldn’t you practice more if you are passionate about it, and if you are passionate about it it’s because you have talent? Is it a circle, where the talented become better?

Wether there is a talent/passion link, is being passionate about one’s art enough to overcome impediments like time and money? I’m left with many questions and few answers, definitely making this another chapter in The Confusion Chronicles.


Don’t forget to subscribe to get my weekly blogs directly in your inbox. No spam, no offers, just the blog, the whole blog and nothing but the blog. 

All my art is here and here.

Photo: the author.