September 06, 2008

The Battle of Algiers

freedom and independence for the people of algeria!
from the incredible film The Battle of Algiers by Gillo Pontecorvo

recently, i've been challenged with the notion that nature eclipses nurture. it's a ridiculous argument. everytime someone asserts that artists are born with some inherent brillance, some unfathomable talent beyond skill, they dismiss the years of effort and struggle it takes to accomplish great things.

sure natural affinity exists, but it doesn't develop without education, experience and nurturing. growth doesn't strike us in some single shining moment, but occurs gradually; it's a process and it's hard work--maybe not for mozart, but i think that even he put in some hours. the question isn't can you, because yes you can. the question is whether you're working hard enough and smart enough and getting the support you need.

anyway, for the last few months i've been instructing the gesture drawing class at pixar with my friends alex and louis, and over the course I find us repeating the same concepts and ideas. I'd like to make a few posts to crystallize my thoughts on these subjects. drawing is something that can be learned and improved upon and Art, capital-A Art is within everyone's grasp.

Education, Experience, Nurturing. Tonight is the Totoro Auction, so expect a post after the weekend. until then, make artwork! go!


  1. Nice works and words.

  2. You already know I love hearing this stuff from you, it's really interesting for me to grasp your thought process, I've already learned tons from you. I totally agree with

    "the question isn't can you, because yes you can. the question is whether you're working hard enough and smart enough and getting the support you need."

    This has always been what I believed, and it's served well, even when the support isn't there, there's always a way to find it from an external source. Especially nowadays. Can't wait for more of your thoughts man. Keep posting.

  3. Here, here-great insight.

  4. Hey Nick, I'm loving the last few posts and your thoughts on this subject.

    I am fully on board with your ideas and agree completely, being one of those guys that really needed to be taught this stuff to the artist I am today, I'm living proof, and learning every single day.

    I went to school with a few guys that were already super good when I was just learning the basics and it can be discouraging to some especially from that viewpoint.

    You nailed it man, great advice.

  5. Anonymous11:49 PM

    Hey Nick,

    Your comments strike a cord with me. When I collect, it is the intangibles that I look for. There are pieces that technically perfect but at the same time, if I feel emptiness where they rest on their laurels by copying their own work, I will pass. For me, it is the struggle, fire and passion that I look for. There are some rare artists where they are constantly challenging themselves like Miles Davis, Beethoven, James Joyce.

    As I mentioned, you are more than welcome to taste my scotches and wines. I am sure that we will have great discussions on the arts.


  6. Nick. That Battle of Algiers is one heck of an animated and vigorous sketch.

    Also, your words are well put.

  7. Awesome drawing! where do i sign up for the class?

  8. this is so beautiful. Just really really stunning.

  9. this is really beautiful. Just really really stunning.

  10. Hey Nick!

    It's great to see you're doing well, and that you're helping to instruct the gesture drawing classes!

    Great insight, and I totally agree. Going to art school now, I am faced with the ongoing challenge of nurturing my art and life at the same time. Not everyone finds this balance of hard work, smart decisions, and nurturing support so soon in life. But once you do, there's almost a feeling of floating as your creative process flows more naturally.

    Thanks, as always, for being an ongoing inspiration for all of us!