When I wrote the art book Sky’s the Limit, I spent hours interviewing the gifted artist, Nancy Cawdrey. I adore Nancy’s work and I’m inspired by her artistic process. She emphasized to me how much training she’d had.
But the women of Gee’s Bend blow the idea that artists need extensive training out of the water. None of the Gee’s Bends quilters had ever left their small, isolated, poverty-stricken rural community. The early quilters of Gee’s Bend were enslaved and uneducated.
Yet critics have hailed their work as the greatest modern art of the twentieth century.
It makes me wonder, “Who is an artist?”
Is an artist someone who has training?
Or is an artist someone who’s been moved by a vision?
Or someone who’s in love with something and wants the rest of us to love it too?
Ray Bradbury once said, “If there is no feeling, there cannot be great art.” I’d love to hear your thoughts.