My interpretation of the word ‘talented’ is more in the area of ‘desirability’ (again such a complicated word) and ‘compatibility’.
There is this movement that says that everyone is a designer and as long as you build something new, you’ve designed it.
The issues I’ve seen a lot of OS devs faced is that, with this conviction (that everyone is a designer), a lot of devs tried to design themselves their project logo, the UI, icons, images, photos, etc. And while some were successful, other devs found out that the work they did was perceived by others as ‘ugly’, ‘not usable’, ‘too technical’, ‘dry’, ‘not sell-able’, ‘not commercial’, ‘unfriendly’, etc.
In my experience (which is a designer with a computer science background), although I am a technical person, I’ve gained over time more respect on the design proposal I’ve made, because the work that I did was ‘desirable’ by other users, got positive feedback, got votes to be added to a certain roadmap.
Sometimes, even if you put a lot of work, you might not get that ‘desirable’ effect from others, and some will call this as ‘talent’.
Just a note about my point above: ‘desirability’ changes over time, especially in design. There are several design trends and movements, like skeuomorphism, flat design, even the gradients era, etc. Also people have different taste. Also some designer might be ahead of their time and their work might not be ‘desirable’ until some years after.
Unfortunately, ‘taste’, ‘art’, ‘design’, etc. have subjective connotations and the most important thing IMO is compatibility with the OS community you want to contribute to. A lot of young designers are attracted to the popularity of an OS project and really want to contribute something there, but not understanding the target; not being able to empathize with users outside of yourself OR not being able to separate self-expression from professional work based on requirements, might make collaboration with some OS communities harder. That’s why experienced or senior designers can be more successful with communities, and sometimes people think that a young designer just had ‘luck’ or ‘taste’ or ‘talent’, and that is the reason of a successful contribution.
UX is such a diverse domain and contains so many subfields. Research, Usability Testing, Analytics sometimes are easier to apply to the OS projects, since they are more data driven, so much easier to understand, defend and promote among developers.
When reaching the Interface Design, Graphic Design, Branding, Marketing areas, than the domain gets some ‘mysticism sprinkle’ and people start to talk about ‘taste’ and ‘talent’.
OS communities needs help in all UX areas, and either the designers or the community members sometimes are not willing to invest the time or the energy to overcome the communication or compatibility barriers, so they expect ‘luck’ or a ‘talented designer’.