Sunday, 20 July 2014

Are You an Artist?

Today I viewed the latest Youtube video by one of my favourite artists, Jennibellie. You may remember I featured another of her videos recently, on the subject of comparing oneself with others, and this latest one is another of what she describes as her “pep talks”!

Again, it made a huge impression on me, as she was speaking right into my situation, or my situation as it was last year.

She made this video while visiting York, and staying in what she described as a haunted house! It all looked very charming to me.

Anyway, back to the pep talk. For some time I had been feeling less comfortable with the description “crafter” for what I do – this is no slight on those who do consider themselves to be crafters and are happy with that, but I felt I was moving more into an area where I was creating a lot more from scratch, rather than assembling ready-made materials, and as I pushed the boundaries, needed to start calling myself an artist.

However, for some time I felt very uncomfortable using this word to people because I thought they might think it pretentious of me, and the worst stumbling block was that I don’t get paid for what I do – my feeling was that most people who describe themselves as artists are “serious” artists who make money from what they do! Jennibellie points out that if you do art, then you are an artist! Why do we have no problem with the doing of art, but the personal description “artist” causes us such problems?

I think I am over this hump now. I am finding it easier all the time to describe myself as an artist. It doesn’t matter anyway what other people think, and if they assume that I am a professional artist, that doesn’t matter either. To be exact, I suppose I could always describe myself as an “amateur artist” but that rather implies that I just mess about and am not serious about what I do, or that I am not very good.

I am not as good as I would like to be, but then I doubt if you’d meet many artists who think that they are as good as they should be!

The name I give to my studio is my ARTHaven, a name I borrowed from Penny Duncan. It is indeed a haven where I do art, and the capital letters imply how important this art is to me. I get quite uncomfortable and a bit annoyed when I hear my hubby describe it as my “craft room.” My beautiful room in our new house, all fitted out to my own specification and design, is definitely my studio, the place where I make ART.

This whole issue is another facet of the issue Jennibellie addressed before, that of lacking confidence in ourselves which manifests itself in the comparing of ourselves with others. I don’t know if it’s a particularly British characteristic to be self-effacing and modest, and not to trumpet ourselves lest we appear brash and boastful, but false modesty is nobody’s friend in the end! It’s time to step up to the mark and say it as it is!

Are you an artist? If you are creative with your materials and produce work that is unique to you, and which expresses something of the inner you, then you are. Don’t be afraid to say it!


  1. I definitely consider you to be an artist!

  2. A wonderful post, Shoshi! So well written! I hear you! It will take me a while to have the courage to call myself an artist, but I'll get there in the end, I'm sure. I wasn't quite sure about the distinction between a crafter and an artist, but I guess you're right about "assembling ready-made materials" being a trait of a crafter. And now I see the difference between a studio and a craft room as well. Keep on arting in a free world!


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