Art Producer vs. Artist
My last post raised some arty questions for me. Well okay, one arty question, but it is a big one. What if you are very, very skilled in an art medium or technique but still not an artist? How do you know when you are an artist?
I’m just throwing it out there. No judging.
Talent vs. kidding yourself
In my writing life, there’s an easy answer to the question. Sure, I’m a writer. Everyone who can write is writer. Oh, let’s not stop there, anyone who can tell a joke is a writer. But what kind of writer am I? Good? Bad? Indifferent? As a college student I was constantly searching for someone (other than my parents) to tell me I had talent. The looks I got from my professors? Sheesh! I’m mostly over that now. I decided that on some days I was a good writer, other days I showed promise, and still other days I should cut off my typing hands and feed them to alligators.
But art-making seems to be different. You can be very, very skilled and still not have much of an idea what to do with your skill. I can count the times I had that incredible, time-bending flow experience. What’s flow, you ask? A friend says it’s when you are having so much fun you forget to eat or pee. For a less personal explanation visit our friends at Wikipedia.
How is that art?
I don’t for one moment believe that flow is an indication of artiness. Work ethic is that thing you have when you don’t have flow. But still, what makes something art? How do I know?
As a viewer, it is a sense of physical rightness when you look at a piece, whether your own or someone else’s. As an artist, maybe it is the desire to work on a project without any hope of financial or critical gain. You do it because you want to know how it all turns out and the mistakes don’t matter.
But don’t take my word for it. Go to Encaustic Canada’s blog and read what encaustic artist Hugh Wilson has to say about the day he met a Toronto gallery dealer who pulled no punches.