I sometimes feel when I read on social media sites when someone says." Oh I am only self taught" that they are apologising for it and they don't feel like they are a "real artist" because they haven't been to art school.
First off, there is a difference between saying you are self taught and those who are being an active learner. So I'm talking here about those of you, like me who are actively seeking to do better and learn new skills.
I say we are never given a diploma to tell us when we are done so we just never stop learning. We think because we are self taught we know nothing so we want to learn everything.
We have no dead lines when things are due in. So we are free to spend as long or as little time on one thread of learning as we wish.
We have to be dedicated, self motivating and passionate about what we are doing to achieve. All great qualities in an artist.
Just like the old masters used to do we can mentor with other artists. With internet access these days it is so easy, we have the advantage over the old masters as we can mentor with as many or as few as we feel we need to though online classes, YouTube and blogs. We can easily find workshops to go to or classes to take and share our ideas and find help at our local art groups. We can make connections with individual artists we really admire.
There is no one there to tell us what the "rules" are so we don't even know we are breaking them. Don't a lot of the pioneers in the art field became great because they broke the rules and did something different.
And aren't we all "self-taught" anyway whether we went to art school or not? We all choose what we will learn and retain along the way.
So next time someone asks you if you went to art school, proudly announce that you are self-taught, so you will never graduate as you never want to stop learning!
P.S. This in no way is meant to say that those with a diploma don't carry on learning after art school. Just saying art school is not the only valid way to learn.