This is a question I was asked while talking amongst fellow artists at a meeting for organizing a CT Nasty Women Exhibition.
I wasnt sure sure how to answer it at the time, but I thought it was a fantastic question.
After pondering the the question for a few days, I realized the moment that being an "artist" felt most concrete for me. It was when I was applying for my passport in 2015 and they asked for an occupation. I remember my heart fluttering when I wrote "artist" and the immedediate self doubt that came rushing afterwards, realizing I wrote it in pen. Art is such an odd profession in this regard--where we question our validity.
When I was in school it was easy to say I'm an art major. It was a crutch, like dipping my toe without fully committing to the title of "artist," and the possible (and entirely made up in my head) backlash from the public telling me otherwise. As if there's an authoritative crowd out there to tell me I'm not an artist....why do I and so many of my peers feel like that's a thing?
Notice I didn't say the title felt real after graduating with my art degree. It's probably because art school doesn't actually prepare you to be an artist, but rather teaches you how to talk about it, why it matters, and how to technically do it (some art schools don't even do that). Still, it doesn't teach you how to BE it. I think only you can do that.
So to all my artist peers out there, its as easy as taking a deep breath and saying:
"I'm an artist."
And when you meet new people and they ask what do you do, say "I'm an artist." I promise it gets easier the more you do it. You might feel the need to follow up that statement with validations like mentioning your latest exhibit, but fear not! It's not required. Most people respond, "Oh, that's really cool!"
And it is. We're cool people y'all. So here's to being artists, in all our anxiety-filled glory!
Artist and maker discussing art and making. Peeks into my studio life, professional tips I stumble upon, and discussions about contemporary art and craft.