Saturday, August 28, 2010

Are You an Artist?

Today I read a post that sat like a rock in my gut . It brought up alot of feelings and thoughts . The post I read, was from someone who attended her local art fair and was struck by the lack of "real" art. Which led me to wonder what real art is ? At what point can you call yourself an artist? The post talked about the journey of an artist to overcome self doubt and failure only to have no guarantee of making" real" art . So what keeps a person striving to create ? What measures your success as an artist? Her belief was that art is also about communication . I agree with this but even if you as an artist can communicate your idea onto a canvas there is no guarantee how your viewer will perceive it. Our perception of our world differs . What we perceive as art differs. I asked my 15 year old what her definition of an artist is . She responded with total confidence that she herself was an artist. I responded " but you don't draw " she replied "I am an artist because of my love of music and I write songs and we all are artists inside". She said this with such belief in herself. So at what point do we begin to doubt our abilities ? Do we need an art degree or do we need to sell our art to become a "real " artist? What is" it" ? I signed up for my very first art class here at home . I will be going once a week starting next week to learn some of the fundamentals . I am doing this so that I can progress in my artistic ability . I am a beginner who only started to draw for the first time ever this year . When I create I really do work to the best of my ability with the knowledge that I have . Is that not enough ?
So leave me a comment . I want to hear your opinion on this .


  1. Hi Jackie!
    Thank you so much for visiting today and I value your opinion on my piece!
    What a wonderful post this reminds me of feelings I had watching Bravo's "Work of Art" I felt lost watching that show and listening to the educated 'critics' and wondered exactly the same thing as you.
    I feel like I'm 'getting it' at times and then other times I feel I have no clue.
    I love your daughter's answers.....awesome!

  2. Oh Jackie, may we ponder together? My brother got an art degree & started his family late. I started my family early and no degree & had Sammie later and still no degree. I asked him to illustrate a book I had spinning in my head for children. His response why? Why don't you just do it? You are drawing more than me these days! he says with a chuckle. Then I was looking at some art work by Henri Matisse the other day. Loving his color and style trying to remember when I visited a museum last and which work of his I saw in person. Any way as I looked at the images and his styling s some were really quite simple for faces, but his use of line and color amazing. We could just continue on about all artist's work we see, right? What does make an artist an artist? I think we must love what we do and grow as artists & especially not be too critical in a way that would cause us to throw in the towel, being an artist is a creative process, a journey. For me I think an artist is when someone is totally immersed in their work & its almost like the artist is getting ideas, energy and guidance to help them do what they are creating, being right in that moment, feeling the paint, creating with the flow (in all arts, drama, music, painting, etc.) Just being in the moment~ For me that is when I feel like an artist. Hurray to your daughter for realizing her artistic abilities! Congrats on your new journey! I try not to compare myself to "real" artists if I did I would never grow into the artist I am~ Ps. Yes you may borrow the quote you saw and liked! ~Theresa

  3. Thanks for the feedback Jackie! As for being an artist ... I probably ask myself this question every time I start making something. Sometimes, I feel discouraged, after all I am not a trained artist, I do not sell my art, I have no idea if what I make has any "value" and so on. Often, I feel like I should find something better to do with my time ... something where I have more skills and so on. At some point I decided that I do not care anymore, I will paint as long as I feel like. Does that make me an artist? I think anybody that dedicates onself to the betterment of their skills is an artist. It just crossed my mind that there was a time when not having artistic skills was frown upon (Jane Austen times come to mind, Victorian era and so on)...

  4. Great post! I also read the post you refer to and it brought lots of thoughts and emotions and some insecurity as well. The question 'What is art?'is a difficult one, but i can see if a piece is good or not. But then again, when i value something it is only my opininon, my view on art.
    On artschool one teacher always told us: if you can draw or paint very good (meaning very realistic) it doesn't mean you're an artist. If you are very good technically, that doesn't mean you're an artist.
    I always kept that in mind and i'm grateful for what this teacher said. So i believe that good art isn't about the technics and skills, it goes further. Good art has a soul, a soul you can feel emotionally.
    That's my humble opinion.
    And i love your daughters answer; i hope she can hold these feelings, because she's absolutelt right.
    I also saw on artschool that talented students were broken, because they were shy, unconfident etc.... and the ones with a big mouth got all the credits. And i personally think that students from artschool produce good work but mostly the work looks all the same. You can see what's going on in the artworld by looking at the work of artschool students.
    But again: that's my humble opinion. ;-)

  5. I know that everyone born has a passion, which in turn becomes their art. The hard part is finding that passion, but once you find it, you know. That's what makes you an artist, and it doesn't matter what your "art" is.

  6. i love what your daughter said and its true.. there is an artist inside all of us, also what Momo Luna said about art having a soul..that's what it's all about.. whatever form it takes..drawing, painting, writing music or's all me that's art..

  7. Dear Jackie, I am so sorry that my post discouraged you. That was not my intention.
    I deeply believe that everyone is creative and that is the difference that I make. In my classes (yes, I teach people how to get back in touch with their creativity and I assure you I do not leave them discouraged!) I say that being an artist is like being a monk. It is a calling and a commitment. But the fact that someone does not choose to commit to being a monk does not exclude or lessen their ability to be spiritual.
    As for what is art, that is a question I would not presume to answer. Though I certainly agree with both Momo Luna and Sue, that it is not about technical skill.
    I have written a post contemplating the questions you asked me in your comment. I hope it is a continuing dialogue. I don't presume that I have definitive answers, I am only sharing my experience and opinions.

  8. I have moments of great confidence and it's balanced out my moments of tremedous doubt. I have visions and thoughts that motivate me to get out supplies, often whatever is handy, and create. It's an impulse and a longing. I can't not create. It makes me wonder what criteria determines whether one is an artist or not. What is inside that must come out or what is produced and layed out for people to see. It's the journey for me as I learn and grow. Also, I don't know what "real" art is. It's so subjective and personal to each appreciator, how can it be defined. Some things speak to one person and the next person is not moved at all by the same piece. Well, I've caught myself rambling. Love the thoughts you've given me today. Be blessed, T

  9. I ask this question all the time, and have finally come to believe that it is something within us that drives us to create. There are people in this world that call me an artist, I don't call myself one... I am a "creator of things". Probably the same thing, just with less pressure from my perspective.

    I do understand the whole "lack of art at the art fair" thing though. We host one here every August that people from all over the country come to see, and I feel the same way about it. NOT because there is no art there, but because it is the same thing as the year before, and the year before that, and the year before that, and so on and so on. It isn't so much the lack of art there (for me) it is the lack of creativity... the lack of something new and totally different. That risk to step outside the "usual stuff that sells" mentality.

    What I create is not necessarily over the top, or under it for that matter, it is simply whatever comes from that creative wellspring inside me. I don't sell it, I've tried and people don't buy it... but they LOVE it when I give them art, so go figure. What I have found is that, for me, the magic of creating something outweighs the labels I (or anyone else) assigns to it. Your daughter has it right, and she probably doesn't really worry about the judgment of others, it's when we do that (worry about the judgment of others) that we lose the creativity. My new theory is have fun and play, just enjoy it and stop worrying about labeling it.