Sunday, February 25, 2007

Am I an Artist?

Rambling and quotes and links ahead. (two posts in one day?? I don't even know who I am anymore...)

The Yarn Harlot, Stephanie Pearl-MacPhee certainly is. But what makes her an artist? And what makes me possibly less of one?

My Uncle Tupper has always said that you may use the professional term "writer" or "artist" when you have paid the rent that way

I kind of like that definition. But if I'm not selling stuff, is that ok too?

A comment from "Tracy in KC" in the comment section of the above post is awesome.

"I come up against this dilemma almost daily. I don't identify myself as an artist publicly, because then people say, "do you sell your work?" and I am hopelessly inept at selling my work. But as others have pointed out, some of the greatest artists of the past were, too.

If you consider "artist" as a way of life and a state of mind, there is no doubt. I live through my eyes and revel in the visual wonder of the world. I make quilts. I paint and collage. I take photographs. I knit. I spin. I write a lot. And I'm about to make a film. (Yeah, that one surprises me, even.) When quilting and knitting, I make my own designs as I go, and my mind hungers for the next visual challenge or treat. I can't make enough to exhaust the urge to make - it's a constant flow that continues in my mind even when my hands are still.

Can we agree to stop looking for some sort of approval, and just DO it? Do we really need somebody out there to stick an official badge on us that says ARTIST in order to keep indulging in these pursuits that tend to lack financial incentive but are immensely fulfillng in themselves?"

Yes. YES!!!! My brain is always looking for the next visual challenge!!

However, I also like the way that my brother's girlfriend put it. Essentially, she said to me that an artist is someone who has to create and feels off when it's not happening.

I think that the term "artist" is the same as the term "athlete". You may not be a professional, but you can still be a member of the club when you're learning, and when you're doing it for free. I called myself a teacher when I was tutoring, then when I was doing my practicum, and finally now that I'm subbing. Do I have a class? No. But do I teach? Yes. Do I sell my knitting/painting etc? No. Do I create artistic items? Yes. Absolutely. And even if I give them away as gifts or keep them for myself to wear or use, I am still an artist.

That feels really good.

I am an artist.

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