What Makes You an Artist? (continuation)

In my previous blog post, I posed the question what classifies someone an artist. Do you have to be an artist to create art? When searching the definition of artist I found three definitions: “a person who produces paintings or drawings as a profession or hobby”, “a person who practices any of the various creative arts, such as a sculptor, novelist, poet, or filmmaker”, and “a person skilled at a particular task or occupation”. Two out of three of these definitions do not specify that an artist has to create art as a career. This was a surprise to me because I assumed the first definition, defining an artist as someone who creates as a profession, would be the only definition. The reason I assumed this is because whenever I usually hear someone mention in artist, they refer to exhibits they have done/are doing  and famous paintings/drawings. The latter definitions give artist classification a wider spectrum because it describes an artist as someone who “practices” or is “skilled”. This means I can be considered an artist even if I am not working for a professional business, selling art, or in art shows, all which classify as a occupation.

Upon further thinking, I have changed my initial response to this question which was you can create art but not be considered an artist. Now, I am able to say that anyone who creates art is an artist. My change of heart is due to my own experiences of classifying myself as an artist due to my history of dancing. It sounds a little biased that I would say this because of course I would want to give myself a title as an artist, right? While this is true, I started thinking of people in the dance community and what classifies as a dancer (artist). Our ability to share stories through movement and express ourselves with music is truly a form of art. However, we seperate dancers, who dance soley for their own benefit and love of dance, from professional dancers, who dance for themselves but also to make a living. Keeping this in mind, I believe that those who paint, draw, etc. should be considered artists but those who use their artistic talent to create a career path should be considered professional artists. This way, we are still giving credit to everyone who practices their talent and has the ability to express themselves uniquely while creating another category for those who have decided to fight for a professional career involving their talent.

I would put Steve Prince in the category of a professional artist because of the events he puts on at colleges, such as Urban Garden, and since he gets asked to create work for important events, such as Old Lady in the Upper Room. From what he has stated during is discussions, he has made a career pursuing art and has been successful, as he has worked in many schools and has shown students the importance of art. Prince has not only turned his passion for art into a profession, but he is able to relay it to future generations.


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