I have seen a couple of recent calls for artist submissions, where age limits have been placed on the artists eligible to apply. One had placed the age limit at fifty. The other was calling for art from emerging artists under thirty. It started me thinking:
Should age be considered a defining factor when considering art?
Are we ever to old to be considered emerging?
I entered art school when I was in my late twenties, leaving teaching to do so. Life circumstances play a big part in determining what we can do, and when we can do it. It was only in my twenties, that I felt I could fully commit to art. By the time I completed my undergrad, I was in my thirties, technically an emerging artist, yet too old to submit to competitions, such as the one aforementioned.
When are we too to old to pursue our creativity? I know artists who are in their fifties, sixties, who have only just begun their forays into art. Not because they didn’t want to, but because they are only now able. Some would argue, if you have a need, you find a way, that creativity is not something you can place on the back burner. I would argue, the underlying need/want is often there, it just finds other outlets for release until you are able and ready.
Life experiences, knowledge, a sense of self, are all attributes developed with age. Rather than seeing these as negatives, let’s celebrate them as positives. They bring with them, authenticity, complexity and understanding. Art should be judged on merits alone. The age of the artist should never become part of the equation.