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?


  1. "He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman; he who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist." St Francis of Assisi
    Is it a matter of INTENT?

  2. I love that quote! Thanks for sharing it. And yes, I think it has a GREAT deal to do with intent. But I also think that a lot of people who call themselves artists are really crafters, even though they work from the heart. "Artist" has become a catch all title for anyone who "makes".