Open Access Repository

What makes an artist? : formative influences in the early lives of 34 Tasmanian visual artists


Downloads per month over past year

Broomhall, Edward M.J 1996 , 'What makes an artist? : formative influences in the early lives of 34 Tasmanian visual artists', PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

PDF (Whole thesis)
whole_Broomhall...pdf | Download (10MB)
Available under University of Tasmania Standard License.

| Preview


The purpose of the study was to investigate the childhood experiences of
contemporary, recognised visual artists in order to document and identify
formative influences which nurtured their interest in visual art through
childhood into mature professional development.
A total of thirty four artists were interviewed in the study. All subjects were
residents of Tasmania. There were seventeen males and seventeen females.
They were drawn from six media areas: painting, print making, ceramics,
textiles, sculpture and book illustrating.
Naturalistic research was deemed to be an appropriate methodology for this
study. The qualitative process of inductive analysis was used to generate
information about significant influences on the development of young artists.
The instrument for the study was an interview schedule. Three areas were
identified as being the basis of the interview schedule: art experiences at home,
art experiences at school and art experiences at different phases through
Six major areas related to artistic development were identified: inherent ability,
familial influences, access to imagery, technical knowledge, socialisation and
school influences.
Findings of this study revealed that individuals who display a keen interest in
art making from an early age, whether male or female, are aware of the urge to
make images with available materials and begin to do so with a firm singlemindedness
in early childhood. They seek to acquire technical skills and seek
adult role models. Contact with art work and art resources seem to make an
impact and was important.
The data revealed that the home environment was a significant source of
support for subjects interviewed. Considering education policy and the
promotion of gifted and talented programs for students, the case of artistically
talented children may not align readily with current policy for other areas of
talent and giftedness.
Results of the study indicate that the source of identification of artistic talent
came not from the school but from parents and other family members.
Further, home environmental influences were responsible for nurturing the
inherent talent exhibited by the subjects interviewed for this study. In some
cases teachers provided support and encouragement but generally the school
was not the major source of influence. Identification as an artist does not seem
to rely on an outside institution such as a school: rather, the identification is
from the home environment and a 'significant other.'
In conclusion, the need of artistically talented children, to work in isolation,
has significance for school art programs. It would seem more important for
children, who are identified as artistically talented, to be placed in out-of-school
programs rather than make allowance for those children in a regular school

Item Type: Thesis - PhD
Authors/Creators:Broomhall, Edward M.J
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 1996 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright
owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We
would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Additional Information:

Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Tasmania, 1997. Includes bibliographical references

Item Statistics: View statistics for this item

Actions (login required)

Item Control Page Item Control Page