MAM Poll (February 2009)
It's important to say upfront that a number of people commented that they learned in a number of different ways . People valued the opportunity to follow a number of alternative routes to improving their art education.
For me, I like a session where an experienced artist can give some insight into how they create what they create. I also learn from group sessions where the composition, whether human or still life, is someone's else's vision and I just draw it. I learn by seeing how others approach the same subject.However since I knew that would be the answer for a lot of people, the question was posed as it was to get people thinking about which had actually proved to be the most effective.
I think the lesson for all art tutors is to
- appreciate the value that current approaches have for students in the real world.
- secure a possible growth area in a virtual world in the future by thinking long and hard about how online interactive alternatives can be improved and delivered.
The three most popular approaches to improving one's art via educational resources, in order of effectiveness, are:
- short workshops with professional artists - 37%
- atelier method/private instruction - 16%
- regular local art class - 14%
If you're surprised by these choices it may well be the case that these are options which you haven't personally pursued to date for a variety of reasons. Maybe this poll provides some food for thought?
I hasten to add that my caveats in the description of the tutor are made for a good reason. There are a fair few tutors out there who don't deliver the goods - and I'll be writing more about how to identify a good tutor in the near future
Thee other popular options
Studying in art school and from books and being a member of an art group or art society were also regarded as effective by some people.
- art instruction books/art journals - 11%
- higher education/an art degree - 9%
- membership of an art group/society - 7%
I found it interesting that people who had art degrees were identifying other options as the most effective way of learning!
I personally think an art group of peers has a lot going for it - because of the nature of the dialogue which can take place. I guess whether this takes place online or offline will depend on the nature of the group. I've got experience of both sorts and they both have their pros and cons - although pros generally outweight the cons.
I'm wondering whether art societies maybe think that if somebody is good enough to become a member then they don't need to learn in the company of their peers. Or maybe they just don't organise enough events or ways in which members can learn?
Two options were seen as less effective:
- online art blogs / projects - 3%
- museums and art history resources - 2%
My personal view is that you only come to view the art you can see in art history and museums and art galleries when you've come to understand how all art grows out of what has gone before. I think it's also likely that although people see learning about art history as important - it's necessarily regarded as being the best way of learning.
The least effective option is the art forum - which during the entire month did not attract one single supporter. I have to say I was very surprised to see this because I've lost count of the number of times I've seen the view expressed on various art forums that people view it as an amazing resource. I'm now inclining to the view that this could possibly mean two things:
- From a positive perspective - the art forums are very popular places for hobby artists and people of similar skills to congregate
- From a negative perspective - that means you can have people who are no more skilled than you are telling you how to improve your work!
As a result, there can seem rather too much emphasis on "happy clappies" at times when in fact work although improving can still be a long way from "good". It can leave people in the same place for a long time.
I think art forums are great places for people who want the company of peers. However I've personally seen a lot of improvement in the art produced by some people once they left forums behind, became more independent and constructed their own paths to learning.
Maybe a greater degree of interactive one-on-one consultation could go a long way to make up for the educational input which online sites apparently fail to deliver at present?
What do you think?
Note: This opinion poll will be added into The Making A Mark Poll - Resources for Artists which is a record of all the various polls conducted to date.