The Myth of “Self Taught”

by | Jun 16, 2023 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

Language is important. It shapes our stories, both the ones we tell ourselves and those we share with the world.

On the surface the term “Self Taught” is generally accepted as meaning that someone has acquired a skill set without any formal education. But is this really the case? Usually not. In fact, the term is a misnomer at best, an egotistical lie at worst. When flaunted as a status symbol, it prompts the question: Are you truly self-taught, self-made… or merely self-centered?

While I never attended an arts college, I am far from self-taught. My learning sources have been many – books, tutorials, YouTube marathons, wisdom shared by peers, other artists, and even an friendly old man at a bus stop. Each has shaped my artistic journey in their own unique way, and to label myself as “self-taught” would obscure their invaluable contributions.

The paths we tread are forged by countless teachers and mentors, many of whom we will never meet, and who will never know of the role they’ve played in our lives. We are not “self taught”.

So what are we then? Self directed learners? Community-taught? I don’t know, but I do know the term ‘Self taught’ at it’s core is a lonely road, and despite the superficial intent behind its most common usage,

language is important.


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