Last week I was teaching a class and I heard the women saying that same thing. They sculpted with metal clay, they did jewelry and were taking mixed media classes. But they called themselves crafters. They knew real artists, and that was not what they were. I felt so sad. Then something someone else said triggered the same thought and I had to share it with you.
So here is today's message. YOU ARE AN ARTIST!!! You may call yourself a crafter, and a craft is maybe what you feel you are creating. Maybe you don't feel you're an artist because you may be contrasting yourself with someone who is a fine artist. You may work with Sculpey instead of clay. You may love to sew, instead of creating paintings. But you are still an artist. An artist is not defined by the medium or the product, but by so many other little things. You see, I've come to realize over the years that to be an artist does not have to mean that you sell your work. It does not mean that you work with fine art materials and shop at fine art supply stores, or create art that is ultra realistic, it does not even have to mean you can draw. We put up such barriers to our own happiness. We want to be artists, we hope to one day be artists, all the while not understanding that we already are artists.
I believe that the term "artist" is not a job title but a personality type. You are an artist for example, if you love beauty. If you seek to surround yourself with it, and glory in it. You're an artist if you appreciate design. If you notice the light on the leaves outside your window at a particular time of day. If you feel energized and alive after learning some new way to create. If you HAVE to create. If you are unhappy if you don't create.
You may recognize all or only a few of these descriptions in your own personality. BUT if you do, then I believe really and truly in my heart of hearts that you are already an artist. I'll agree that artist's are born not made. But that does not mean that you ooze talent your whole life. It may not even mean that you work with art materials. It is your personality. It is in your blood. You couldn't stop yourself from creating if you tried. Odds are that if you look at your life you'll see that you find a way to be creative in all sorts of areas of your life. It may be in what you choose do as volunteer work. Or how you decorate your home. Or how you dress or cook or craft. But to create, to make beautiful or interesting everything you touch, that is something a true artist does. Not because they went to school for it, but because they simply have to.
It really wouldn't be a big deal what we call ourselves except that we make judgements about ourselves based upon that. You would sign up for that art retreat but you're sure that only real artists go and you would stick out. Or you would spend the money for that amazing sounding class but you really can't justify spending any more money on something that is really just a hobby. You would take a room in the house for yourself and your art, but that would seem to much like carving out your own little studio space and you don't feel it's justified. Do you see how you demean yourself? That is why it's dangerous to deny your Artist self. God has made you unique, He has put that creator element of Himself in you, and you refuse to acknowledge it. He may have caused that opportunity to go to that art retreat to open itself up to you, purely for your own joy. But you refuse to embrace the gift that it is because you can't acknowledge that you are already an artist and have been since the day you were born.
So please, think about this. And next time you feel the urge to claim not to be an artist-Don't. If you don't know what kind of artist you are, because you do a little of everything, say you're a mixed media artist. But if you say you're not an artist, you'll believe it. We listen to what we tell ourselves, as do others. So say it to yourself, if no one else. "I am an artist." And believe it- You are.