It has been argued that “learning to be an artist...is a complex process of becoming” and that having practicing artists (as opposed to traditional didactic methods) model practice is important because “witnessing and interacting with such modelling is a process of students learning the shared discourses, views and practices...it enables students to access the tacit and nuanced behaviours, languages and cultures that constitute contemporary art” (Budge, 2016, p.243)
Little research has been done into the importance of ‘identity formation’ in terms of becoming an artist, and yet “trying on the identity of artist...is a core part of ‘learning to be’ an artist, and close observation of other artists as models is essential in this process. (Budge, p.245). There are two central aspects of art learning, both of which are best addressed with artists' modelling practice: “how to do” (make and talk about work), and “how to know” (the development of conceptual processes) (Budge, p.249). The important point here is that the artist-model is not a ‘role model’ in the sense of a person to be simply imitated; neither are they a ‘master’ of the subject, in the traditional sense, as if the subject can be ‘mastered’. These are ‘peer models’, artists that the student artist can relate to. This means that often what is most useful is the observation of hesitations, tentative steps, uncertainty in the practice of others. There are many elements or behaviours of good practice that many artists have in common, and which can provide a useful starting point or model for the student-artist:
Budge, K. (2016). Learning to be: The modelling of art and design practice in university art and design teaching. International Journal of Art & Design Education, 35(2), 243-258.
Eagleman, D., & Brandt, A. (2017). The runaway species: How human creativity remakes the world. Catapult.
Marshal, J., & D’Adamo, K. (2011). Art practice as research in the classroom: A new paradigm in art education. Art Education, 64(5), 12-18