The Question That NEVER Goes Away

11 May

“Am I an Artist?”

I can’t help but wonder how many nuclear physicists get up out of bed each morning and ask themselves whether they are nuclear physicists.

If it looks like a goose, honks like a goose, and nips like a goose, it’s probably a goose.

Granted, if one is a nuclear physicist, one has concrete evidence of the fact – education, background, job title, and hours of working each day with whatever it is that nuclear physicists work with – but an artist has a few concrete pieces of evidence as well:

Paint; canvas; brushes; paper; pencils; clay; some sort of easel, palette, or workspace – all of which are jumbled together somehow to create a painting, sculpture, piece of jewelry, or some other product that others look at and call “art.”

So it would only make sense to call the person who made it an “artist.”

Ah, but nothing in life is simple, and many people – some of whom are nuclear physicists – work at a day job and do art on the side, in the evenings, on the weekends, in place of eating lunch – and while what they produce looks like a painting or a sculpture or a piece of jewelry, they torture themselves by asking all the time,

“Am I an artist?”

“Am I a real artist?”

Some people ask themselves this so much that they stop producing whatever artwork they have been producing, until they can get an answer to the question.

But to some extent, does it really matter?

And whose definition of “artist” are you using anyway?

This is what I recommend: go ahead, keep asking yourself the question if you insist, but don’t stop creating whatever it is that you create, and don’t let the question fill your mind and crowd out ideas for your next piece of work.

Your next piece of Art work, that is.


4 Responses to “The Question That NEVER Goes Away”

  1. Sarah Dale October 4, 2012 at 9:54 pm #

    I love that you bring this up. I had a friend tell me they were talking about me, describing me as their friend who is an artist. I stopped and said, “Really? You think I’m an artist?” Because I work on my fine art projects only part time and I haven’t sold anything, I don’t consider myself an artist. But the question is, if I worked on my art full-time and even sold a few pieces, would I still feel like I’m not an artist?

    • middleagedplague October 5, 2012 at 3:53 am #

      Sarah: good question you’re asking yourself.

      Whether or not you come up with the answer that “yes, you’re an artist,” I hope that you continue pursuing your art, and one day you’ll ask yourself, “Am I an artist?” and answer yourself, “Does it matter? I do my art, and that’s what matters. Whether I call myself an artist or anyone else does, I’m an artist.”


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