I’m still trying to get used to calling myself an ‘artist’, particularly since I don’t have a degree in Fine Arts (I have a BS in Technical Communications, Minor in Computer Science), I have no clue about the whole gallery or juried show thing, and a lot of my work is half drawing by hand, half creating on the computer, and I sell my own art, as prints or tshirts or whatnot, on my own websites. And I spend a good amount of time doing geeky stuff like website administration – installing scripts, server side includes, fixing my own code, creating shops online, making digital images for use in print, etc. I suppose traditional artists wouldn’t call themselves a paintbrush cleaner just because they cleaned paintbrushes – they would just consider it a skill to support them being an artist.
Ultimately, I believe an artist is simply anyone who creates what they call art – how can you get any more specific than that anyway? And I also think that the more comfortable you become with your tools and ‘arena’, the more comfortable you are with calling yourself an artist – it has nothing to do with any sort of official recognition. And, thankfully, public recognition isn’t limited to someone official deciding to like it and feature it in a gallery, when you can just put it up on your website, or share it in a place like DeviantArt. Some people say that digital art is devalued because of its inherent ubiquity, but I think the value just shifts… instead of being what someone ‘official’ decided was good, we each get to decide for ourselves, and appreciate it because it resonates with us personally, not because someone else said it was good or because they only have ‘one’. You can see this trend with book publishing as well – anyone can put a book out now with self-publishing. There’s a lot of crap that sees print now that wouldn’t before, but there’s also a lot of gems that would have never gotten past the editor at a traditional publishing house with traditional ideas of what interests the public.
So what is this blog entry about? I think it’s about becoming your own authority. YOU decide if you’re an artist, what art you like and don’t like, YOU decide what goes up for sale to the general public. Perhaps the wave of the future is the dissolution of the NECESSITY of the ‘middle man’ in most areas, both with what we create, and what we get to call ourselves. You can be an artist even if your day job is a store clerk, you’ve never been inside a gallery, and you only do pencil drawings in a sketch book and never show them to anyone – then again, maybe that’s always been true, just not what we learned was true.