Everyone is different...an obvious statement. Some artists are specialists, some generalists.
I tend to fall under the generalist category. My creative interests flow out into many areas, materials and subjects. Sometimes I actually have to reign myself in and decide NOT to try a new hobby or art form...enough already!
Throughout my life I have had different hobbies. In elementary school through high school it was drawing. During college and my early career I discovered cross stitch.. I would cross stitch on the subway as I commuted from Brooklyn to NYC. I researched cross stitch...the history, styles, patterns. I even made up my own designs to cross stitch.
I joined the quilting fad of the 80's and purchased quilting kits, that I hand stitched together! I carried around unfinished quilting squares from apartment to apartment, house to house, I thought maybe one day I would want to quilt again. I only recently donated my quilting supplies to a thrift store.
I had my painting faze. I started with acrylics then migrated to oils. I took out every book in the library on the subject of color, composition and light as it related to painting. I read a thick old book about oil paints, the chemical composition of the different colors, and how artists developed the process of oil painting-- from cover to cover. I studied the art medieval painters through to the impressionists and American regionalists, with a particular obsession on Grant Wood. I wanted to learn as much as I could on the subject.
There were periods of other obsessions and interests that were equally researched and practiced: piano playing, , clothes sewing, home sewing, pizza making, asian food, bread making, faux finishing, felting, ukuele playing...shall I continue? But through all these eras of interest, my love for photography was always there in the background and I find that all those past hobbies and interests have benefited my photography. No hobby or interest is wasted!
With the advent of the internet, everything has changed. Anyone can discover the secrets of just about any industry--if they are willing to take the time to do the research. There is so much information out there to help an artist develop their skills--information that in the past was almost held as secret knowledge--only shared through years of study and internship or assisting a master. What a difference technology has made. The biggest names in the photography industry are on Youtube today, willing to share their knowledge; a wonderful gift!
As equipment becomes more versatile the thing that still sets an artist apart is still their individual vision...the eye of the artist. An expensive camera or lens does not guarantee a good image--they are just tools in the hand of the photographer; it still requires the vision and skill of the artist to create an outstanding image. And that is my goal, to create outstanding images that capture a moment and continue to grow in my knowledge and skill as a photographer. We should never stop learning, researching and experimenting!