I have to tell you that I’ve lived most of my life in a world where “artist” is not necessarily a venerated title. Museums are okay “if you like that sort of thing,” and a “good” artist makes things that are easily interpreted because they are quite literal representations of real life objects or people, with bonus points for literal interpretations that make you laugh.
I’ve thought about this many times over the years because I enjoy art and literature, no matter how abstract or “out there.” Since I hadn’t found my own true creative outlet, though, this difference of opinions about the world of art was just another one of those curious dichotomies that come and go in thoughts and never quite get resolved. I can see both sides of this discussion.
Is theretruly anything wrong with expecting art to be pretty and somehow comforting and relaxing to view? I don’t think so. I may prefer to look for deeper meaning in a piece of art, but don’t we all have our own individual preferences? I know I’m that way with music. Don’t give me what’s new on the radio, give me an old country song that I already know by heart. Does that make me totally unappreciative of music? I don’t think so, but it does give me a different perspective from that of a musician or even a music lover who keeps up with current trends.
Why am I even writing about “finding the confidence to call yourself an artist”? I’m writing about it because I have heard talented people dismiss themselves or their work by saying, “Oh, I’m not one of those artsy-fartsy people” or “I don’t really consider it art, I just like to make things.” Why would they say that about themselves? Sometimes, it is because considering yourself an artist may be viewed by others as a less than humble viewpoint. Sometimes, it is because considering yourself an artist may be viewed on a par with carrying a sign that says, “I’m different.” I don’t think many grownups, artists or not, thick-skinned or sensitive, really want other people to think of them as arrogant or strange. Not that we don’t usually grow up and reach that satisfying point in our lives where we can say, “Hey, this me. I am who I am, and your opinion of that may be heard but it doesn’t necessarily mean I’ll change anything about myself.”
I am pretty sure that I felt the need to write this because I have come to the point in my life where I think of myself as an artist. . . but those old thoughts have a way of insinuating themselves and making me want to somehow apologize or explain myself. Oh, but I am emerging, just like the Woman Emerging in the picture above. I am emerging, and I think if you’ve ever felt the same doubts or downplayed your role as artist in this way, then I want you to know you are not alone. I also want you to know that it’s okay to call yourself an artist, and that you have at least one person who can empathize and applaud you for taking that step.
Angie Garren, aka AngelinaBeadalina, writes and creates art in her home in Irvington, Illinois. You can watch her progress as an artist in her gallery pages at BeadArtists.org, read about her life as artist/mom in her blog, and even buy some of those pieces of art in her Etsy shop.