Some people say an artist is a person able to create beauty that many others can see, feel or experience. Does that mean you have to have an appreciative audience to be considered an artist? Does art itself have to be beautiful and who gets to say it is?
Others would define an artist as someone who is doing exactly what he or she wants to do in ways people never thought of before. But that takes the audience factor out of the picture, and some might say it also removes the beautiful. Are the serial killers in Criminal Minds that come up with creative new ways to murder someone “artists” as their often-sick minds think they are?
That brings me to this question: is an artist someone who can make a living creating something unique or beautiful instead of standing behind a machine or sitting at a desk? I’m afraid many starving artists would greatly object. In fact, most of us doing something creative would starve if art was all we did.
This is my definition of an artist and it’s based on what I see every day. Most of us spend our spare moments—those times when we’re not at work—playing games on our tablets or phones, watching movies or television, texting, connecting on social media. When it’s time to relax, we need an avenue that takes us away. If the vehicle that provides that escape is performing or making music, polishing words or putting a brush to paper, you’re an artist. You choose to give some of your leisure time to your chosen art form. You also have enough faith in what you’re doing to enjoy the act of doing it and you have enough passion to push yourself to do it.
If you’re extremely lucky, you can find a way to do this during the working day. Only a few fortunate souls among millions can do that, however.
The rest of us plod along, spending most of our hours on everyday realities and trying to find time to continue doing this thing that gives us so much pleasure.
How would you define it?
–Genilee Swope Parente