EST. 2009

January 25, 2012

That Autodidacticism

CHINESE-AMERICAN ARTIST AND POET WALASSE TING painted mainly female nudes, cats and other animals in broad strokes of lively colors. Despite being self-taught, his works have attracted a significant following and can be found amongst the permanent collections of MoMA, the Tate, the Guggenheim in New York and the Pompidou, amongst others. Ting is also a recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship Award for drawing, as well as a published author of 13 books.

Self-taught, Walasse Ting is called an autodidact. From Greek autós or "self" and didaktikos, "teaching", autodidacticism is a form of learning wherein one directs one's own learning or literally, learns by oneself. This self-teaching may be done partially - in that the learning is complemented with some previous formal education and guidance from a mentor, or wholly - in that the learning is directed entirely by the learner.

While informal learning occurs spontaneously, experientially and in the natural function of everyday life,  autodidacticism on the other hand contemplates and wills the learning, usually resulting in the autodidact spending considerable amounts of time studying, researching, reviewing or practicing. History's famous autodidacts include Leonardo da Vinci, Herman Melville, Tadao Ando, Abraham Lincoln, Heston Blumenthal, David Bowie and James Cameron; luminaries in diverse fields who have employed various degrees of self-taught learning that has brought success to their craft.

We don't all have the interest, ability or willpower to autodidact ourselves into historical stardom, in the same way that not everyone has the means to invest in many years of formal learning that may catapult us into historical stardom. It's just good to know that there is, this is, an available option for those who desire it, providing success or enrichment on levels both personal or phenomenal.

While I would grovel to accomplish even just a hundredth of what da Vinci had taught himself to be, Walasse Ting seems a realistic aspiration. Exhibited artist and published author curriculum begins today!

Okay, fine. Tomorrow.

Grape Flavor, Cat in the Garden, Do You Like Red Roses? and Lady with Vase by Walasse Ting,