Artistic Self-Discovery: Am I Even an Artist? #AtoZChallenge

Hi and welcome to day one in the #AtoZChallenge. I have been uncertain as to what topic to choose for my first post. Last year, I chose to use my letter A post as an opportunity to introduce my topic. Today, I’m doing something similar. My topic this year is creative self-discovery and self-expression. A question that’s always been on my mind though, is: “Am I even an artist?”

When I joined some groups for creatives and artists on Facebook, I initially wasn’t sure whether they would be for just visual artists like those using paint or drawing as their primary medium. I mean, even “mixed-media” art usually includes some aspect of visual art. Thankfully, the members of most groups have been able to reassure me that, as a polymer clay hobbyist, I am more than welcome.

Then comes the question of quality. I mean, does my work have to meet certain standards to be considered art. I am still in many ways a beginner and, in all of the creative pursuits I have made, never got beyond that level, if I even got beyond the level of a 3-year-old.
Then I am reminded of Julia Cameron’s words in The Artist’s Way that you need to be a bad artist before you can be a good artist. In other words, no-one really is naturally good at art. She in fact seems to go as far as to say everyone has the ability to be creative within them.

The thing is, I am both rather impatient and perfectionistic. This combination means I feel easily discouraged by negative feedback on my first attempts at something creative. I really want to skip the “bad artist” phase and, especially when I know other people move on from that stage more quickly than I do, I feel disappointed in myself.

That being said, I realize now there is a reason Julia Cameron says you shouldn’t show your Morning Pages to anyone and shouldn’t even reread them yourself until week eight of the program. Wanting to share your creativity too soon, may lead to negative feedback and this in turn may lead, as it has with me, to discouragement.

I am learning this as I start to explore macrame, first learning the knots quite well before I’ll even think of showing anything online. That way, I am still trying, might still fail, but the chances are less that I’ll make a fool out of myself on Facebook.

To get back to the question that sparked this post: yes, I am am artist, just like I am indeed a writer even though it’s been nearly seven years since that one little piece I got published in an anthology. And even if I had nothing published in print, I’d still be a writer. Similarly, just because I don’t sell my artistic creations, doesn’t mean I’m not an artist.

43 thoughts on “Artistic Self-Discovery: Am I Even an Artist? #AtoZChallenge

  1. I agree, you certainly are an artist. You don’t have to sell your creations to be recognised as an artist. I consider myself a writer, and my work has only been published once, as well. Xx

    Liked by 2 people

            1. Well that’s part of my problem too. With the piece I got published, I stumbled upon the call for submissions randomly on an autism blog. I’ve been thinking about submitting to something like Chicken Soup for the Soul too, but I don’t think I have what it takes to write something for them.

              Liked by 1 person

  2. I have often asked myself the same question… but these days I have come to the conclusion that I do art (I dabble in different things but I’m first and foremost a writer) because it makes me happy and I don’t need the validation of others. So I hope you find a lot of happiness in the things you do too. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. As Emerson said, “every artist was once an amateur”. It is only the critics and the collectors that seem to want to label everything. If you create, then you are an artist. Great start to the challenge!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh yeah. Artist and artistry is something I struggled with when I first started doing Beadwork. Think it has to do with mindset. If something strikes a chord within, then it is art, is my philosophy.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Your statement that you are impatient and a perfectionist resonated with me. I also agree with Julia Cameron and I’m glad you aren’t sharing your art before you are ready. I’m looking forward to reading more of your posts.

    Liked by 1 person

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