The Best of the Best

Equipment. What is so great about it? For one thing, equipment enables the average joe to become an artist, by expressing his ideas. But where did this constant battle come from, to get the best equipment available?

Sometimes it is a matter of personal preference. For example, I personally prefer pencils over crayons. I also prefer erasers that don’t smudge over erasers that do. One might like the way a certain brand of pens feels or writes. Maybe a certain idea requires a charcoal, rather than paint. Maybe you can’t sew with even the highest-quality oil pastels. This is all fine. Aside from this, I find the controversy.

Argument 1: Only the best equipment can enable you to create the best product possible.

Argument 2: A true artist can create a masterpiece transcending the standards of equipment.

There is reasonable evidence behind both of these statements. It is nearly impossible to bind a book without a sharp needle. Without an expensive pen-making machine, the average human cannot conjure a wooden pen. The smoothest pastel is almost always preferable over one that breaks as it touches the paper.

However, if Argument 1 is true, art would be nearly impossible to achieve on a low income… and how many artists have a low income? Skill and talent, when used correctly, can replace the quality of a piece of equipment.

Having thought quite a bit on the subject, I have reached a sort of conclusion. Yes, I agree with Argument 2, that an artist is able to create, no matter what he is using, but if an upgrade in equipment can improve his work, I believe he should take it. Do not misunderstand- If an upgrade is impossible, extremely difficult and/or costly, it is not always necessary to take.

My penultimate thought: Improvising is a friend to art, not a hinderance. The best techniques have been formulated out of improvising. You may not end up with what you expect, but improvising is what moves art along.

I would like to close with this: Equipment does not make the art, the artist does. If all one needed to be an artist was a fancy box of pencils, everyone would be a artist. As long as you, the artist, exist, art is possible.

I’d love to see what you think. Do you resonate most with Argument 1 or Argument 2? Do you have any other ideas to add?


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