A blank sheet of paper

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Historically artists have always had a kind of intuitive factor, whether they are a painter, sculpture, sketcher, architect, designer, illustrator or just an avid admirer of art. A true artist can generate something remarkable from nothing but an idea in their head. Most of what I call starting with “A Blank Sheet of Paper”. An idea where a dream, a vision can become reality if its portrayed in the proper art form and communicated to the intended audience and the message is received, then a true artist has done their job.

Not all artists operate in the same facet, with today’s technology many get a head start by using template driven programs or clip art to begin a design. There’s nothing wrong with this however, as a designer and a veteran in the business for over 25 years and as an employer, I have found much to be desired by today’s artists. For me finding those that operate in what I call, “The Spiritual Zone”, is hard to come by. As an employer who has interviewed and reviewed many potential artists, I find many over-glamourfyied portfolios do not represent a true artist nature.

In many cases in interviewing candidates who have come to me with the greatest of portfolios and a long list of software applications they know, I can’t even get a simple drawing test completed. Usually having a 1-hour interview window sometimes turns into 3 hrs with unfinished test results? It concerns me to wonder after my college days of 20 years ago, what our colleges and art institutions are putting out these days. I fear that the true art form of yesterday has past and because of the new technology it’s assumed that anyone can be an artist these days?

In 1464 Michelangelo created the marble sculpture of David, it was done in such remarkable detail many claimed it was the greatest work of art he had ever created! Michelangelo said he had created nothing and further stated that The “David” was always there, he just cleared away the rough pieces. This was the measure of a “true” artist. Of course he went on the rest of his life continuing along that same path. 1464, no computers, no software, no electrical devices or templates, just a hammer and chisels and the “vision” in his mind.

This is where a true artist begins with nothing but a vision or an idea, in whatever media they choose to use, the vision still remains. In the modern century artists like Pablo Picasso gave way to Western civilization with his drawings and paintings of the day, many of which represented the Western abstract nature of people and landscapes all were created with “the vision” drawing from the “spiritual” side of the mind, Monet, VanGogh, Renoir and many, many other followed this spiritual sense in their own variation of the arts.

Personally for myself as being an artist since I was able to hold a pencil, I have always taught young artists to “stay” on the paper! Continue to draw, sketch, create and explore all their wildest ideas and visions, put it down by hand. Get to feel the vision, the thoughts, the shape, touching what doesn’t exists in your mind first and put it on paper. Many may think this is an archaic way of teaching young artist, some may say why not just give them a computer and all the tools, “NO!” That would detach from the vision especially in dealing with youths at a young age, in my personal opinion using a computer to teach any type of art form is a way to cut corners and lose touch with the spiritual side of any art form and does not create a “true artist”.

For myself I started at a very early age since I was in my high-chair as I have been told. Drawing, creating, concepting designs that do not exist. I could never enjoy coloring books as a child because, they were already drawn? Since the age of ten I have been creating and designing, automobiles, aircraft, buildings, homes, portraits. All done with a vision, all done by hand. In every aspect of creation being able to touch and feel whatever it was I designed and bring it to life. Every attention to detail so clear to any audience that even today after 48 years on this planet people still ask, “Is that real?”

Now I have been on the computer since the mid 90’s so one can imagine with all of that background development applied to what I do today, the computer acts as a lightening rod to everything I do because it allows me to create at such an accelerated rate that even the computer can’t keep up with me, that’s evolution in art and it only allows all true artists the ability to create new ideas, new designs at such a rate to the marketplace, one cannot afford to wait on any new idea.

In a world where imagination can be brought to life by a stoke of a thought by any artist, we have seen so many designs in every industry that once were thought of as science fiction, now has become science fact. I once asked a young artist I had an opportunity to work with on a joint project, “where do you start?” He opened up his MacBook and opened a ton of templates, I was shocked. I asked;” How do you develop a creative idea from scratch?” all I got was a blank stare from him???

I can only suggest to all who desire to become an artist in today’s environment, who has never had any formal training and even if the colleges start you on a computer, take the time at least an hour a day and grab “A blank sheet of paper”, and start from there. Explore your thoughts and ideas in sketch form, get to feel what it is you are creating, become one with it where you can not only see it, but touch it, feel it be as if it was right in front of you. Once you do that then take it to the computer to refine your design and creation. For without starting from scratch you will never know what it is like to be connected to the other world us artist call the other reality and bring it to life here on this planet.

Jeffery Taylor

About Jeffery Taylor

Jeffery Taylor has been a graphic designer and writer for 30 years. He is also Owner and CEO of Jeffery A. Taylor - Design Studios formed in 1981. A 30 year veteran in the business Supporting Graphic Design to the Detroit Metro Area and the nation.A former Penske employee and is currently the design and art director for TPE Post.