Thursday, October 22, 2009 6:45:27 AM
A lot of people are motivated. They desperately want to do art or science. Some of them learn the skills. But very few have the taste to know in which direction aim their creativity. Taste can be understood as a set of values that guide you trough the process of creation. Even in most trivial of situations you can spot the lack of taste immediately. There are many people who clearly have enough clothes, but they combine them in the wrong way. It is not the lack of clothes that makes them look like clowns, it is the lack of taste. It is the lack of taste to blame that many technically good painters never go beyond what it is sold on the beaches or postcards. It is the same for photography. They are motivated, they have the technical skill, but they don't know what is really good so they aim too low.
So how to acquire a good taste? In my experience this happens with constant criticism. You must put your work under the scrutiny of yourself and others. You might get hurt, but that is a good thing. Bad feelings fade away, the lesson remains. You must also see and judge as many other works as you possibly can (this doesn't necessarily involve informing your peer about the opinion). If you are an architect you should devote at least some part of your every day to review other architects' work. When I was a freshman, a very dear very professor said: "A day without looking at an architectural magazine is a lost day." Today I know how right he was. By looking at magazines you develop a clear taste of what is good and what is not. You later apply that taste to your own work. Without the taste your motivation and skills are simply misguided into wrong directions. And this goes not just for design or arts, it is true for every activity. Because of that many good works of art are very simple and resourceful. You don't need a huge budget to create something original. You don't need many resources. But you need a good taste for it.