Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Portrait of the Artist: A Creative Identity Crisis

Yesterday I wrote about how I haven't created art for months now, which got me thinking....can I actually call myself an artist if I'm not currently creating art? Am I pretending to be something I'm not? Often when I tell people I'm an artist, they ask me what type of work I do. What happens when the answer to that question is "I don't actually create art, at least not right now?"

So, is being an artist something I AM or something I DO? I've been contemplating this question all day, and I've decided that yes, darn it, I am an artist 24/7 whether I pick up a pencil or not. Being an artist doesn't just affect what I create with pigment and paper, it affects the way I see the world, the way I approach all aspects of my daily life.

When I pick out my clothing in the morning and I'm selecting items with different colors and textures and patterns, I'm looking at the ensemble like an artist. When I apply my makeup with assorted brushes I'm painting my face just like I would paint a canvas. When I plate the meals I've made for my family, I add garnishes to increase their beauty, just like an artist adds final details to a sculpture. When I take long walks with my son, I look at my surroundings through a photographer's eyes.

And even if I'm not currently creating a work of art, I'm constantly looking for sources of artistic inspiration, admiring the beauty in the world, the amazing conglomeration of color and value, balance and contrast, shape and texture, pattern and line.

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