Are you an artist….or are you not?
Years ago I wrote and article about what constitutes a true artist. But over the years, I’ve come to realize that the definition of what an artist is as defined by Webster’s and what we really are, is actually too narrow. I thought it was time to rewrite the article and explain what I think an artist really is, as I come to understand the definition.
Webster’s dictionary defines an artist as:
Are you and artist who creates? Or merely creates what others expect of you?
Have you ever questioned if you are an artist? If so, question no more.As I see it, an artist is someone who creates. I prefer to believe that an artist is one who creates beauty in their world. Creation should be something of beauty. While an artist creates, all created things are not beautiful or artistic.
When I moved back to my home town several years ago, I expressed the interest to teach classes as I had done before in the area I previously had lived. I was asked what my credentials were. I was a bit taken aback as I was unaware that there were requirements to teaching in a small rural town. Immediately I felt awkward and, dare I say it, unworthy. A few years later, after I had joined the local art group, we were asked to identify ourselves and give a small history of where we had learned our skills, and whatever background concerning our art knowledge that we cared to share.
Imagine my shock to discover that out of all the people there, I was the only one with a college degree!
My point is that often we look to others for validation and worth for what we do. I don’t think that art is only about what sells for big bucks. I don’t think it’s about getting Best of Show at the fair, either. Here’s why…..art isn’t just about following the rules such as lighting, composition, perspective, although following the basic rules does help make a good painting. It’s about an emotion, a visceral reaction.
I’ve participated in art shows where I knew I would do well….I just knew it. And I didn’t. The judge picked something I thought was unworthy and far inferior to other work. But no matter how impartial a person tries to be, judge or not, that person will always favor something they may be partial to. Even if we are unaware of it, we may tend to gravitate to a painting, a piece of music, because of the way it’s makes us feel. Not because of the way it looks. Some of the ugliest paintings I have ever painted (in my youth!) I sold because it evoked some emotion in the buyer.