How do you tell the difference between “good art” and “bad art”?
This question was posed toward the end of my art education (which consisted of reading a library-borrowed copy of “Art for Dummies.”) The book’s solution?
Look at 10 pieces of art everyday.
The idea is that by looking at as much art as possible, as often as possible, you start to discern between it all and develop a taste. It’s a call to saturate yourself with art.
Once I was exposed to this concept of saturation, I started finding it everywhere.
In Islamic studies, there’s this concept of the 90/10 rule which states, simply:
Teach only 10% of what you know.
Delve as deep as you can into your studies, but when you’re given the opportunity to teach something, you present only 10% of your knowledge on that particular subject. Practically, if you’re given an hour to give a speech, you should be spending 10 hours preparing for that speech. To present 20 pages of a book, you should be reading 200 pages on that subject. Sound a little crazy? That’s what saturation gives you — a crazy level of understanding, insight, and knowledge.
When you immerse yourself, you start to develop mastery.
I found this same advice given with filmmaking and writing: if you want to learn about movies, watch a ton of movies. If you want to write great novels, read a ton of books. If you want to develop a taste for art, look at a ton of art.
This notion may seem fairly overwhelming, but in truth, it’s quite freeing.
Art and movies and writing and even religious studies no longer seem to be reserved for an elite class of people with some inherent advantage, inaccessible to the rest of us.
Saturation is our path to deep understanding.
It takes consistency and dedication, yes, but it’s simple and can be done by anybody.
So, what will you saturate yourself with?