Am I a real artist? No ... seriously. Am I?
Is it just me or does everyone have the perception that you are not a real artist if you a) are not a full time artist, relying solely on your art for your livelihood, b) are not or have not starved at some point for your art c) have had multiple exhibitions all over the country / world d) don't hang out with other artists, dress eccentrically and smell funny.
Okay, maybe not so much the last one, but my point remains.
Even I tend to believe these things for some reason. Socialisation? Brainwashing? Is there some evil full time artist conspiracy using psychological warfare to keep emerging artists from breaking into the market?
a) No question I rely on art for part of my income, I wouldn't survive if I didn't ... but I also love my day job, and wouldn't give that up!
b) Starved for my art? No. Suffered for it? Definitely!
c) Nope, nope, nope. To be fair to myself, I have sold my work quickly enough to have battled to accumulate enough work to exhibit effectively.
d) Um, well ... err ... um.
Not that my being labelled as an artist is really important to me ... Frank said it best. I am what I am and I'm not particularly fussed about the title that goes along with it. But there is a part of me that still does a double take when I'm referred to as one (an artist that is). I still feel uncomfortably unworthy of the title for some reason.
When I started out I thought I would feel worthy of the title when I had received enough compliments on my work; or when I had sold my first piece, or when I had first hung in a gallery, or received my first commission.
Maybe my first solo exhibition?
Worthy of the title or not, I am an artist. What makes me an artist? - I am an artist because I feel compelled to paint, to create and to share that with the world.
Does that make me a GOOD artist. Definitely not. My art is to be judged by the viewer, the collector, by the critic and my peers ... they can decide whether my work has merit. I can choose to listen and learn or go on regardless, either way I remain ... an artist.
Latest submissions for a new Gallery in Clarens that will be hanging my work (Yes, you're right ... "maybe if I have art on display in Clarens I'll feel ..." ) ...
Mrs Brightside - 25cm x 25cm - Oil on canvas