Thursday, April 17, 2008

Artist or Not?

The other day, in one of my classes, I had a student say something like, "Well you are a professional artist...". Anyway, this is the part of the conversation I remember the most because it caught me a bit off guard. In another class I had a student say, "She was not an artist, just liked to paint". Why is it that we, as artists, find it hard to acknowledge our accomplishments? If you paint, sculpt, draw, photograph, sing, dance, play a musical instrument, are you not an artist?

Pat B. Allen wrote in her book Art is a Way of Knowing, "Art making is my way of bringing soul back into my life." How can we not call ourselves artists when we express ourselves, our soul, through our art? Granted, we may be at different stages, and even different paths in our journey as artists and we sometimes brand ourselves as such, saying things like: I am an amateur painter, photographer, etc., etc., fill in the blank. It seems to me that an amateur painter is still an artist.

A quote from Max Beckmann 1884 -1950 found in Clint Brown's book Artist to Artist: "Art is creative for the sake of realization, not for amusement: for transfiguration, not for the sake of play. It is the quest of our self that drives us along the eternal and never-ending journey we must all make." So, in searching for realization and transfiguration and the quest of our self, stand tall, take a deep breath, and call yourself an artist!

1 comment:

Tom said...

I think the term artist is as hard to define as art itself or the emotions some art evokes. try to define love or happieness or hatered and what do you get? to someone that has never experianced these things it is nearly impossible to explain. art and artist are such slippery murcural words that I content myself to call anyone who has a creative flare and expresses it an artist. this defenition maybe to simple for some but it has worked for me for now and maybe the true defenenition of an artist comes from the same place that art does. many people have said "I know art when I see it"...