I subscribe to a great newsletter by Canadian artist Robert Genn called Painters Keys. Sometimes it’s about technique, sometimes it’s about marketing, sometimes it’s about the journey of making art. It’s always an interesting read.

Today’s letter about artist credentials reminded me about an article in my series, specifically, the one asking DO YOU HAVE TO GO TO ART SCHOOL TO BE A REAL ARTIST?

It came at a good time. I’m feeling self-judge-y and unfocused today. (That’s what happens when I clean my studio.)

But I know when a surface is cleared and I sit down to work, the muse will return.

No license needed to practice art.

Author: Luann Udell

I find it just as important to write about my art as to make it. I am fascinated by stories. You can tell when people are speaking their truth--their eyes light up, their voices become strong, their entire body posture becomes powerful and upright. I love it when people get to this place in their work, their relationships, their art. As I work from this powerful place in MY heart, I share this process with others--so they have a strong place to stand, too. Because the world needs our beautiful art. All of it we can make, as fast as we can! Whether it's a bowl, a painting, a song, a garden, a story, if it makes our world a better place, we need to do everything in our power to get it out there.


  1. I don’t believe credentials are required, but it can’t hurt either! There are many myths about formal art education. The most silly myth of all is that artists who went to school are not ‘born’ artists. All artists are born artists. Art school is not for teaching the untalented. I never look for, or care about, a degree, when I read an artist’s bio. I doubt many gallery owners, etc, do, either. But it sticks out like a sore thumb if the artist makes a point of mentioning they are “self taught,” because that too is pretty much a myth. Maybe 100 yrs ago it meant something but today it’s a cliche, and it comes across as an apology or an insult. So if a person has no “credentials” beyond their years of practice, the shows they’ve been in, etc, no one cares. But they do notice and care if the person has adopted the sour grapes attitude that there’s something wrong with those who do have ‘credentials.’ That’s especially so when the self taught artist looks as if they could use a few lessons. So be careful how you present your lack of credentials, just as one should be careful not to brag on it too much if they have them. It’s a blip on the radar. Our real education comes from years of practice and experimentation, and that is why we’re all about the same level of self taught anyway.


    1. I agree with many of your points, especially about the overuse of “self-taught”. It’s become a term like “outsider artist”, which used to only mean artists who worked from the fringes of society, and now can mean any artist who….didn’t go to art school!

      The point of this series, though, was to encourage people who make art, who don’t see themselves as “real artists” because they lack the art school credentials. And so I put a stronger case forward for encouraging those who don’t hold art degrees.


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