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what makes an artist?

January 28, 2011

original drawing done by me in 1993


i call myself an artist and i have no problem doing so. but i know people who have difficulties mouthing those four little words, “i am an artist.” my friend brandi had a great post yesterday on the misconceptions of art school and it got me thinking. her main point was that going to art school does not automatically make you an artist and i must concur.

so what does make you an artist?

if you ask my four year old daughter what she does for a job, she will tell you that she is an artist without a moment of hesitation. and she is. she paints every day and she loves it. i love her passion for creating. if you come to my house for a visit, she will show you all of her creations. i have no doubts that my daughter is an artist.

there was once a time when i would have hesitated to call myself an artist. i was even really good at art. i had taken drawing classes in high school. i could draw really well, but i didn’t love it. it was just a talent, a hobby, a skill, nothing more in my mind. art was a thing to do, not who i was.

so how did i become an artist? i discovered mixed media and my creative life really began. i started thinking non-stop about painting. every chance i got i was in my dining room with my fingers covered in glue and paint. it felt like i had never painted before. i loved the process of mixed media, which was totally new for me. before if i painted something, i couldn’t wait for the painting to be done. after discovering mixed media, when a painting was done, i couldn’t wait to start on the next one. see the difference?

i began to dream about paintings. i would wake up in the middle of the night with inspiration and have to write it down so i wouldn’t forget my idea. i ate, slept and breathed painting. and somehow along the way art became a part of me and who i was.

it isn’t a question anymore. i am an artist.

what makes me an artist? my amazing drawing skills, i think not.

what makes me an artist is my passion and drive. the fact that i can’t stop thinking about the next technique i want to learn, that i am always dying to get into my studio to create and that i am continually working on my style, this is what makes me an artist.

do you have a hard time calling yourself an artist? if so, what is holding you back? do you need to discover mixed media, or photography, or pottery or or or? find that something that keeps you up at night dreaming about your next project, then you will be an artist and no one will be able to take that away from you.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. January 28, 2011 10:37 am

    Friend, this is amazing. What an awesome perspective! Thank you so much for sharing, and for continuing the discussion!

  2. joanne permalink
    January 28, 2011 2:16 pm

    You are so right.I have only dicovered art in the last 6 months and am learning so much.When my 3 1/2 grandaughter is over we get all her art supplies out and she goes for it.One day as a joke I said to her that I was an artist and she turned around with a serious look on her face and said “Nanna I’m an artist too!”So when ever she is over I ask her what are you and her reply is “I’M AN ARTIST” with all the confidence in the world.So wonderful to hear.

  3. January 28, 2011 2:35 pm

    I started reading Brandi’s amazing treatise and then got pulled away. I will go back. I know that I have struggled with those four little words. I used to say that I wasn’t an artist, just someone who saw things with an artistic eye. But your comment about finding that which stirs your soul, sets your passion on fire, the thing you dream about and can’t stop? Well, that is me with jewelry. I am nuts about it. I want to eat, sleep, drink it in. I want to connect with others and there is nothing better than telling their unique story through my jewelry. I am delving into some mixed media charms and pendants and components of my own that I hope others will love. There would be nothing finer than to have someone get my component and seeing where that leads their creativity. Thank you for writing this and for reminding me that yes, yes I am an artist!
    Enjoy the day!

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