The Renaissance period of western culture (1300-1600) provided for the art education of young men (girls were not included) in a practical and effective way. Adolescent boys were shipped off to the studio of a master craftsman to be guided in the rules and skills of the craft. Initially they would learn to sweep floors, dust and observe.
In time grinding pigments, preparing canvases, and the basics of painting were learned. All this lead to the long process of learning to paint in the manner of the master. This method works well as long as the there is an excepted and agreed upon standard of what art must look like.
This approach worked well, in various forms, for a long time and in many cultures. Paul Cezanne threw a wrench in the works when he dared break from the salon and make his art more about ideas then observations. Now the floodgates were open and what spilled forth was Impressionism, Modernist, Dadaism, Abstract Expressionism, Pluralism, Conceptualism, Minimalism and all forms of individualism.
Artist today are faced with choices. Sometimes there are so many choices that an person will seek refuse in the tried and proven – “popularism”. Not unlike the the apprentice schools of the Renaissance this approach has defined rules and defines objectives. Those with this philosophy often band together with like minded people and form Societies.
Non-conformists are not looking for answers as much as asking questions that will lead to new discoveries. These artist are interested in playful experimentations. They paint for the thrill of making something new that is personally unique. Their work is more creative than imitative.