What Makes You Call Yourself an Artist?

Artist – conjures up many ideas. To some, you picture a renegade crazy artist hold up in a studio with one ear and a brush in one hand and one in mouth busily making strokes of genius on canvas. A life of solitude and loneliness meeking out an existence and living on nothing but bread and water just in order to paint.

An artist can also be a performance artist, actor or actress or even your favorite band and singer. The dictionary defines an Artist as 1. a person who produces works in any of the arts that are primarily subject to aesthetic criteria. 2. a person who practices one of the fine arts, especially a painter or sculptor. 3. a person whose trade or profession requires a knowledge of design, drawing, painting, etc. 4. a person who works in one of the performing arts, as an actor, musician, or singer; a public performer.

So what calls any person to be an artist or define themselves as an artist? In reality, most artists hold many positions of employment. They can be from the creative industry like I used to be, working within an Agency or as a Freelancer or Consultant. They could also work in many blue-color industries or even sales that have nothing to do with art or being creative. If someone makes a living from something other than art or in the creative industry, do they get to call themselves an artist?

I believe the answer to the question is always “Yes”. My young nephew visited recently and he not only plays guitar and teaches others but also spends a lot of time just drawing in his sketch pad (besides playing video games and eating, lots and lots of eating). He is very inquisitive when it comes to his sketching and getting something just right and comes to me for advice. I told him no matter what he does in life, no matter what job ‘pays the bills’, he will always be an artist. It is something that is in your heart that needs to be expressed either through art or music. Most artists are employed by others in fields that have nothing to do with their art. When they come home and when time allows, that is when they create. It is often said if you see a light on in the middle of the night, it is an artist at work.

For me, I may not always be in the studio with brush and paint in hand but I am always thinking about my art or that next piece that I need to get down on canvas. The studio calls me and even though I may not be busy putting color down on canvas, I am either promoting my art through social media or by writing here in my news blog or just listening to videos on art techniques or even just reading the latest art magazine. Skills and talent are, of course, essential and constant practice is necessary but there is so much more to being an artist. It’s not the amount of art you produce or the number of galleries or art competitions you enter, I believe being an artist is something in your heart. It’s a need that can only be expressed through your talent in unspoken words.

As I say in my Artist Statement, “My art is created out of need, not necessity. I create because I must.” These aren’t just flowery words to impress but are true to my feelings. My paintings are a symbolism of humanity that I see before me, something I want to convey as beauty may have other meanings, like my painting of “The Youngest Bridesmaid“. Other paintings that are on my easel right now and some that are in the beginning stages also have hidden symbolism.

In the next few articles, I’ll explore my other paintings that contain these hidden messages, some of which you may have missed. So check back soon and if you want to be notified of my articles, be sure to subscribe to my news!