By Judith Zausner August 2010 all rights reserved
Academic degrees are not required. There are no certifications. But it is anticipated that you bring passion, dedication and talent to the profession. Do you have it?
Art can be tangible or intangible, practical or impractical, private or public, appreciated or disregarded. Making art exists in a vast arena with no license. But that does not make it easy; it has to satisfy. To be an artist, you have to create and love to create and feel compelled to create. However the process of considering yourself an artist is an inward journey.
Li Gardiner struggled with the concept of taking on the role of an artist and says “Today, if you ask me who I am, or what I do, I will tell you easily and naturally, “I am an artist.” It wasn’t always easy. It took years of doubt to get to this point, but I figured out how to maintain my belief in myself as an artist, in the face of all obstacles.” Read her 10 point check list that outlines her dedication to creativity.
How can you consider yourself an artist? Many people have pictures in their mind of what an artist looks like, how they dress, the way they live and of course what they create. It roots from our knowledge of master painters such as Michelangelo, Renoir, Picasso; artists who captured subjects on canvas with their expertise and vision. Comparing yourself to a famous artist may not be an exercise in elevating your self esteem, but by studying and emulating their techniques, you can improve your work. We’re all different; our abilities, sensitivities and styles make us unique. By developing your talent, believing in your art and securing your confidence, you will be prepared to succeed. Buddha claims “We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make our world.”
If you take that inner journey to be an artist, you must fill the path with focus. The dedication and drive required cannot be overestimated. Joan Jeffri’s project “Above Ground: Information on Artists III: Special Focus New York City Aging Artists” studied a group of artists from 62 to 97 years old. Jeffri sums up her findings: “All the artists we interviewed visited their studios on a frequent and sometimes daily basis, even if it took 1.5 hours to walk the three blocks to the studio. When the medium became too taxing—such as large-scale sculpture or paintings, not one artist talked of giving up art; s/he simply changed the medium.” This is not uncommon for prolific and committed artists to continue to pursue making art no matter what hurdles lie in their path. In her book, When Walls Become Doorways, Tobi Zausner describes the creative spirit of artists who overcame physical obstacles to continue their work. An example is Matisse who, confined to his bed or wheelchair, drew on walls and with charcoal attached to a fishing pole, also drew on the ceiling.
With talent, you create. With passion, you commit. Are you an artist?