When is it OK to call myself an artist?
 
 
This is one of the biggest questions I receive as one of the biggest fears amongst artists is calling themselves an artist and feeling like a fraud.
 
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Simone Jacelon, one of my UAS members said:
“When attending our art society functions here and asked in I’m an artist, I say yes but feel like a fraud. A well known artist here asked me if I was an artist and I said “yeeeesss… but not like you”

There are so many different opinions of what defines the title ‘artist’.

Oz Yikici sent me this today:
“I often call myself an artist, but one day at a party there was an artist there who I was introduced to speak with and he immediately started with that how he hates people calls themselves an artist when they’ve not achieved anything..it really hit my confidence and I stopped me from talking about what I do.. 🙁 that part of the art industry really brings out jitters in me.”
Oz Yikici sent me this today:
“I often call myself an artist, but one day at a party there was an artist there who I was introduced to speak with and he immediately started with that how he hates people calls themselves an artist when they’ve not achieved anything..it really hit my confidence and I stopped me from talking about what I do.. 🙁 that part of the art industry really brings out jitters in me.”
It is comments like this that put fear into people using the title ‘artist’.
Some feel they don’t have the right as they are not qualified, some feel they don’t have the right as they haven’t mastered their craft and for some the feel like a fraud as they don’t make a full time living.
There are so many opinions and views, and people are entitled to their opinion.  For example, I talked with a photographer this week who is professionally trained and has 20 years experience. He felt frustrated as a couple of people bought a camera, took a few snaps and now call themselves a photographer.

I can see his frustration, yet at the same time those people who have turned to photography might be a different kind of photographer and they may attract completely different customers to someone who has all the experience and the training.

Check the dictionary definition of an artist, taken from Google definition:

artist

/ˈɑːtɪst/

noun
noun: artist; plural noun: artists
  1. a person who creates paintings or drawings as a profession or hobby.
     
    Similar: creator, originator, designer, producer, fine artist, old master, begetter
a person who practises or performs any of the creative arts, such as a sculptor, film-maker, actor, or dancer.

 

There is no mention if qualifications, how much money you make or the years of experience you have.
It’s quite acceptable to call yourself an artist even if you don’t make a living, or trained.
I think you need to call yourself an artist before you feel ready as this sticking point can really hold you back from becoming the artist you have the potential to become.
Practice saying you are an artist, even if you are an artist who manages a job and other responsibilities.
Don’t let other people’s opinions and beliefs shatter your confidence by using the title ‘artist’.

Call yourself an artist before you feel ready and learn how to own it 🙂

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