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What’s a Self-Taught Artist?

Self-taught artist

Detail from “Eternal Spirit” (Copyright © 2012 Paula Ogier)

What does it mean to be a self-taught artist? I call myself one, and I mean it in the sense that I am not formally trained as an artist. While I did get a certificate in production art back in the 80s (before it was the norm to cut and paste via computer), I never studied or practiced art in a formal degree program.

Does that make me self-taught? What about the uncountable books, articles, conversations, practice, experimentation, mistakes, on the job experience, lectures, films, and occasional non-credit art workshops that have all converged to give me my particular art education?

Maybe it’s not your form of education, or the next guy’s, but in mine I considered, expressed, practiced, felt, guessed, erred, went backwards, went forward again, discovered, and manifested. And I did it again and again and again and again and again. My art, my expression, was born from it. So, really, I have no problem calling that an education.

But I don’t think learning happens in a vacuum—I credit every moment of practice, every exchange of ideas, and every attempt at understanding as my teachers—and I definitely don’t believe education only happens in college classrooms or university programs. How ridiculously limiting that would be. For me, the will to learn created my education. And keeps creating it! It has always been more about being curious and self-motivated than self-taught. The way I see it, the goal of education is to awaken understanding within, integrate that knowledge into my way of being, and ideally even apply it to something.

That process never stops, if you’re lucky and if you’re curious.

Have a curious Friday!



Paula Ogier Artworks

This entry was posted in: Learning


Hi there. I’m Boston-based digital artist Paula Ogier. In this blog I write about about my art new works, projects in process, life in Boston, inspirations, ideas, and creative challenges. I live and work in Boston's South End neighborhood, in the enclave known as the SoWa Art + Design district. I'm fond of big cities, architecture, great imaginative spaces, food & drink, gardening, wandering around the city on foot, binge-watching well written shows, talking to cats, and of course, making and experiencing art. Artist website: PaulaOgierArt.com. Twitter: Paula Ogier Artworks My studio is at 450 Harrison Avenue, Studio 203.

1 Comment

  1. Pingback: An Art Lesson to Last a Lifetime | Let Me Illustrate My Point

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