I’m An Arteeeest -or- Can’t You See The Beret?!

Photo by Jeanne Claire Maarbes via freedigitalphotos.net

Photo by Jeanne Claire Maarbes via freedigitalphotos.net

A question that most creators deal with is, in regards to our creations, do we actually own them or is it owned by the person experiencing the creation? And, as with anything worth discussing, I feel that it’s a complicated question deserving of a complicated answer.

Personally, I’m a dreamer, so I believe in that whole beauty-in-a-beholder-eye thing. I believe that art is owned by anyone currently experiencing it.

But that’s not what I really want to talk about in this particular post. I want to discuss the word, “artist.”

Now, this is going to be an argument about syntax, so nothing is concrete here. Just my take on things. But to me, syntax is very important and I don’t like how vague and useless so many words are. I like rules. I like structure. I like my language to be very math-ish.

“But art is about feelings and emotions, not structure and limitations!”

Bullshit + eat one. Tell that to Escher and Bach. It can be both or either. There is room.

But, whatever, syntax is a discussion for another time. I want to talk about whether or not we own the right to call ourselves, “artists.”

I know a lot of people, from painters and writers to actors and musicians, that call themselves, “artists.” It could be argued that, since we create art we are then artists. But who says if what we create is art? Personally, I don’t think it’s our place to decide that. And that’s where the beholder eyes come into play.

It’s the responsibility of anyone experiencing your creation to determine whether or not it’s art and, in every case, it can only be considered art or not to that person. Whether something is or is not art is an opinion, not a fact. It’s subjective. Some people read Hemingway and see mastery of the English language demonstrated by a an extraordinary storyteller while others just see the drivel of a drunken prick. But neither person is wrong.

The problem stems from when we, as creators, call ourselves, “artists,” and what we create, “art.” It’s like a college student calling themselves a genius or a child strumming on a guitar calling themselves a prodigy. Whether or not they are doesn’t matter, it’s just a super-damned (that’s when someone or something is sent to super-hell) pretentious thing to say. Not to mention douchey.

The terms, “artist,” and, “art,” should be considered honorifics given to someone by other people not something that someone calls themselves when they slap a synth loop onto a 4/4 beat or when they sepia tone a picture of a leaf. Doing something that resembles art is fine, I have no problem with that, and I encourage people to do it because you never know when someone will see it and deem it, “art.” But until someone else calls it art, it ain’t. It’s just that, something that resembles art. A creation by a creative person. But that’s ok. It’s not an insult.

So that’s the gist of my opinion. I’ll never call myself an, “artist,” or anything that I write, “art.” If you use those words to describe yourself or what you create, whatever. That’s your prerogative, Bobby Brown.

But I won’t be caught dead placing those labels on myself. It’s not my place.


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