Tuesday, November 16, 2010
What are you?
I was recently in a group that started off by introducing “self” and telling a bit about “self”. As we went around the circle people would say “I’m (name) and I’m an artist”. They would then proceed to tell everyone a little about themselves. We continued with these introductions until a woman stated “I’m (name) and I’m NOT an artist, I AM a crafter”. She then proceeded to tell us what she “crafted”. I thought about this for a great while. I was wondering why the artists didn’t tell about their art. I wondered what exactly makes a person an “artist”? An artist does not necessarily have to go to school like a Doctor or Lawyer. They don’t have to get a degree in anything in order to call themselves an artist. They don’t even have to go through any training. So when does an artist “know” she/he is an artist? And when does she/he know that its time to call themselves an artist? Is there a time period of working one must accomplish? Is there a measure of sales in order to be an artist? Are an artist and a crafter that different? I know we have what we call “fine crafts” such as woodturning, pottery and metal works where the maker has worked at his/her specialty until it is perfected. In my mind that person is an artist – what they create is not only a fine craft that has been accomplished by hours of practice but also a piece of art to be appreciated by viewers. They call themselves Craftsmen. Then the flip side – a person calling themselves an artist may take the newest fad in mixed media, slap it on a board and say it is “Art”. They call themselves Artists. So how does the person creating know what they are? Where does craft end and art begin?