“But I am not an artist …”
I have heard this so many times, in particular when people (who really are artists) show me their work. And I always tell them, I didn’t think I was an artist either. In fact, at first, saying I was an artist felt really weird.
Recently, a contractor who came to my home saw my art on the walls (my walls are embarrassingly full of my own art), and commented on it (Sign number 1). Then he told me he paints too. (Sign number 2) Then he showed me his work which he had on his phone (Sign number 3), and it was really good (Ok, that seals it. He is an artist). And I told him that he was a really good artist, and he should think about showing his work.
And his response, of course, was “But I am not an artist.”
I get it. I do. I regret a bit, that the line in my head between being artistic and being an artist was selling a piece of my art. For me (and many other people I know), that is the line. But I am pretty sure that if I embraced my identity as an artist a bit sooner, even before I sold my art, I would have returned to art a lot sooner than 50 years old. And so because of that, I really do try to encourage others to try the word “artist” on for size.
Practice your art. Practice saying you are an artist. They go hand in hand.
And don’t minimize it. You don’t have to be a “budding” artist or a “beginning artist” or say that you “want to be” an artist. If you make art, you are an artist.
And how do I know this now? Because in my recent involvement with a local art gallery has allowed me to meet so many incredibly talented artists! These are people I had previously placed in a group that did not include me. But the truth is most are just like me. They love making art. They have insecurities like I do about their talent and their creative process. They worry about the things they don’t know. They compare their art to others(uggh, that one is the worst for me!). And like me too, many worry about selling their art – as if it is a measure of their talent.
Here is how Merriam-Webster defines an artist:
a. person who creates art (such as painting, sculpture, music, or writing) using conscious skill and creative imagination: the great artists of the Renaissance
b. an artist specializing in watercolors b: a person skilled in any of the arts: I can’t draw at all, but both of my children are very talented artists.
All it takes is a little practice saying it — out loud. “I am an Artist.”
And if you are, than saying so will feel like coming home.
Thank you for reading, and supporting my journey, as an Artist.
I appreciate you all.