So what is an artist, really?
I’ve pondered this question for a couple of decades, and have never really come up with a simple answer until recently.
The funny thing is that no matter how much the idea of “art” or an “artist” irritate or confuses us, we all gravitate toward some type of art or artist, whether it is a country music band, or stenciled tile, or the comics. We all crave certain types of expression, and we actively search them out and revel in them.
Whatever art we love, we invest our time and money into that art in a disproportionate way to its practical value. We use money that we could have saved for our food or education . We spend time we could have spent in a park or with our family.
On a purely pragmatic level art is useless. On a spiritual level it is an essential need, something that we have to experience to fully express what it means for us to be alive, whether we consume it or create it.
If you look at anything hard enough, you will find out that it is art.
That is when it gets tricky. When we find out that life is actually one big work of art, we realize that we have the responsibility, as artists, to process and create, day after day.
Is there any practical reason to process life and create art? Yes — in order to be fully alive. If we don’t experience the expression of the spirit, we die inside. Art is the fountain of eternal life.
So I don’t think it is all that big of deal to call ourselves an artist: painter, sculptor, writer. Or biker, baker, brewer. Or gardener, poet, friend.
Art isn’t really one category of things, but all of the myriad ways in which we process our lives and create something from that processing.
The most important work of art is our lives, right?