” The individuality of your artistic voice takes a while to mature,but be reassured, it’s there. Only a very few artists, such as Durer, VanDyck, Bonington, Sargent, and Picasso, did notable work in their early teens. The overwhelming number of artists take much longer. ( on the other end of the scale we find Auguste Rodin, who was thirty-six when he completed his first masterwork, and Milton Avery and Jean Dubuffet, who became full-time painters after the age of forty. Hokusai tells us that “since the age of six I have had the habit of sketching forms of objects.. Although from about fifty I have often published my pictorial works, before the seventieth year none is worthy.”) It’s clear that the pace of artistic development is more likely to resemble that of the proverbial tortoise than than the hare-like course of athletes and some musicians. ( In the early Renaissance, students were bound to master for twelve years.) Artists ordinarily take a great deal of time to arrive at the necessary high level of synthesis and coordination between eye, hand and mind. This process can’t be accelerated by anything except work.
It may happen that you find yourself making art early on that looks fully developed and receives some recognition. Perhaps it is mature, but if you’re honest with yourself, you might have to admit that for you it lacks meaning or roots. You have discovered that your work is not genuinely yours, and you must reassess where you are going. You need to keep searching for a way of expressing yourself that will elicit the response from you: “THAT’S ME” Ben Shahn describes this experience in his early life as an artist:
‘ It was during those years that the inner critic first began to play hara-kiri with my insides. With such ironic words as, “It has a nice professional look about it ,” my inward demon was prone to ridicule or tear down my work in just those terms in which I was wont to admire it. The question, “Is that enough? Is that all?” began to plague me. Or, “This may be art but is this my own art?” And then I began to realize that however professional my work might appear, even how original it might be, it still did not contain the central person which, for good or ill, was myself.”