But do beginners really have 'killer taste'?If you've ever taught a beginning class in ceramics or pottery it seems that some students will have the idea that nothing short of perfection and symmetry will do. Others, on the other hand, will be satisfied with 'anything goes'. Not every beginner has the expectations necessary for even bad taste. And if its not beginners who sometimes have bad taste, who actually does? Experts?Glass' advice to work hard and to 'close the gap' only applies to beginners not starting from square one. Unfortunately for those of us in the field of ceramics and pottery, we often start as beginners with absolutely no conception of what stands for quality. Its not so much a struggle to close a gap as to provide one. We need to also educate our eyes to SEE quality. That is not a given. Its not just training our ability and technique, but training how we aim those things.If you are like most potters I know, if you look back on the history of your own work you can see that the evolution of your craft had very many stepping stones where you were satisfied by what you were making. At the same time, looking back we can see how wrong we were to like those things. Our taste, in fact, was horrible. Thankfully we didn't simply settle for the taste we had back then but changed to acquire better and better taste.I think telling beginners they have 'killer taste' is a mistake. Its telling them an untruth before they know any better. Its like telling small children that their social skills are in no need of revision, when their inclinations are to hit their little sister behind their parent's back, not share their toys, and throw a tantrum whenever they don't get their way. These things need to be learned, every bit as much as we need to learn good taste from bad. We don't start out knowing the difference. So how can 'beginners' possibly have 'killer taste'?
It's funny Carter, when I watched this i was thinking of myself and not a newbie uber fresh beginner. I was associating my own fears and concerns and struggles not those of a real beginner. And you're right. If i put myself back into my undergrad brain and frame of mind from over 15 yrs ago, well my aesthetic taste was pretty crap. But I also feel that alot of that was influenced by what was available and on my radar. I feel that I would have been a different student and learner in today's world where eye candy is flooding our screens every minute. My ability to filter and find that which inspires me today is part due to experience and part due to the internet and community sharing. And one thing I've been learning lately is to never underestimate some students. Some of the stronger work I've been seeing lately is by students. (graduating bfas and mfas) Can't over generalize. : )
Excellent video, thanks for sharing it! Love the general message of keep working, don't quit if our work isn't measuring up to our own expectations but I too wondered about beginners all having killer taste. I think our tastes continue to evolve just as our work does. I think he generalized in order to make this message so effective.
I just saw this David Foster Wallace interview that rings far more true than the Ira Glass one, at least in terms of what we think we know and how that evolves. Also interesting to think whether there are limitations on how good we can be at things and whether developing good taste also requires practice.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w5R8gduPZw4#t=231"You know, the whole thing about perfectionism. The perfectionism is very dangerous, because of course if your fidelity to perfectionism is too high, you never do anything. Because doing anything results in– It’s actually kind of tragic because it means you sacrifice how gorgeous and perfect it is in your head for what it really is.""I was a very difficult person to teach when I was a student and I thought I was smarter than my teachers and they told me a lot of things that I thought were retrograde or outdated or B.S. And I’ve learned more teaching in the last three years than I ever learned as a student."
Glass is talking about creativity - not taste. He says that in first attempts at creating something - whether that be a story, a video, or some other creative expression - that none of us can achieve the idea that is in our head to the level that we imagine, because what we produce is a first attempt. Only by practice and continuing to practice can we get "there". Just because we cannot produce what we see or hear in our heads does not mean that we are not creative; it only means that we haven't got the expertise behind practice, practice, practice. This applies to writing, making movies, playing an instrument, making ceramics - a whole host of artistic endeavours. And Glass says this very clearly.I am a potter and musician, and I know that I am a creative being. What I produce, however, in my ceramics and music is not to the level of the many ideas that are floating around in my head, partly because I do not devote eight or more hours a day to either art, but also because I am not yet practiced enough. What I produce is not a factor of my creativity but a factor of how much I work at what I do. When I look at the first pieces I created and that I was happy with, what I see is progression, not bad taste.A creative person - even a beginner at his craft - knows what is good (taste). It is the person without creativity who thinks that bad taste is good.
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