Is a self-taught artist less of an artist?

I am a self-taught artist, and as such, I am somewhat intimidated by the so called “professional” artists with university or college degrees in fine arts.  It’s not that I consider my work to be of lesser quality. Oh no, I have enough confidence that my work is good enough to be hung in a fine art gallery, along with the works of professional artists. I am just more hesitant in approaching fine art galleries and venues where they do look at your formal art education. I could not easily stomach being treated or dismissed with a snobbish attitude. “Sorry, we can’t represent you because you don’t have the right credentials and therefore your works are of a lesser artistic value”… However, if your art is good, it should not matter how many diplomas you have, right?

Vincent van Gogh, Frida Kahlo, Henri Rousseau were just a few of the artists without a formal fine arts education, but they revolutionized the art world in their own way. And just to make myself feel better and to also give some encouragement to other self-taught artists, I am reproducing a quote by Alan Bamberger that really made my day:

“The most important thing is to believe in yourself and to be confident about your accomplishments. Don’t sell yourself short and for sure don’t feel like you’re less of an artist because you’ve perfected your skills without formal education or training. If anything, it’s more like the opposite; you’re “more” of an artist because you’re talented enough to achieve success entirely on your own without help from others. People who buy art could care less about where you went to art school or how many diplomas you have. They’re looking for one thing and one thing only — good art. As far as you’re concerned, creating art brings joy to your life and selling it brings joy to the lives of others. That’s called success and it’s everything being an artist is about.”

Alan Bamberger is an American art consultant, advisor, author, and independent appraiser specializing in research, appraisal, and all business and market aspects of original works of art, artist manuscript materials, art-related documents, and art reference books. You can find out more on his website at