I spent the weekend in San Luis Obispo creating art with my family. As part of the weekend art experience, we view an exhibit of book art where my aunt had one of her altered book on display; however, she did not feel it was worthy of being with the work of ‘real’ artists. I worry anytime when I hear someone say ‘I am not a real artist. As if there is a certification board for ‘real’ artist. What makes your art real is does it move you, friends, other humans, or fulfill your purpose for the art.
However this leaves open the possibility that art is so vague that anything anyone makes can be claimed as art. I think that there is a difference between this broad, and vague, sense of art and what is may be seen as popular and cultural art. However, the question of what is art is complex and depended on the reason, need, and disciple of the categorization. My question today is why do people doubt themselves as artist?
Even more so, many artist still after becoming “successful” doubt themselves as artist. Seeking validation seems to be a very human need. I have my own doubts but I do not create art for validation. I enjoy the validation and even seek it out but my goal for creating art is different. Art is a media for me to build relationships. Some time this is only a relationship with myself but often it is about community and connection to nature. In this sense, art becomes broad and powerful. In fact, I think that most people engage in art more often than they may see and thus much more of an artist. Perhaps all humans are artist; some make money with art but all of us make connections.
For me, I find that art is an expression of spirituality, an extension of self. And, in that sense, we are all artists. What we create is art if it is created to fulfill an expression that we feel is necessary. Art need not be for anyone else but yourself. Granted, I believe that most people want others to connect with their art and appreciate it. The concept of “real” artist is foreign to me – anyone who creates something of meaning to themselves or others is an artist no matter the medium. I think sometimes when people are paid to produce art it can limit creativity as it sometimes puts artificial deadlines on the artist and for me, sometimes there are times when I can’t work on certain projects because the feel is just wrong or my focus is just drawn to a different project.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts and your aunt’s beautiful book. If she still needs affirmation, you should remind her that the people that were running the exhibition obviously thought her piece had a lot to offer as they displayed it 🙂
William, your book is beautiful and so is your purpose for engaging in art. Keep creating!