Monday, 8 November 2010

Thoughts on "Being an artist"

Being an artist - or what makes you an artist - that's something I have been thinking about for a long time... in fact, since I finished art school (a long time ago). And although I had diplomas in painting, graphics and monumental design - and made (a bit of) money as a portrait painter - I didn't call myself an artist. In retrospect I wonder why, because I answered my (current) requirements - but at that time I thought, I am so young, I need so much more experience, there are so many other artists who know more than me... what if they criticize me, what if they think I'm crap and make fun of me...

Funny because nobody hesitates to call themself an architect or a teacher or a chef... or do they?

Well - ok, it took some time but right now I'm over myself and don't have the problem anymore and I happily call myself an artist and painter and aquarellista! I have come up with a couple of thoughts on the subject, that you can have a look at for yourself. I know a lot of you out there don't dare to call yourselves artists - because of modesty and nagging doubts and insecurities - although I think you might just be one.
Note that these are my personal criteria - I am 100% open to input and corrections and discussion about them.

1.  My occupation is artist, I call myself an artist, write it on official forms etc
2.  I take responsibility for my work
3.  I have something to say that I want the world to hear and I show it through my work
4.  My work is constantly developing and there's thought behind it 
5.  There is nothing I 'd rather do and I feel my work is somehow important
6.  I am good in -and proud of- what I do (craftsmanship)
7.  I am original (or aim to be)
8.  I want to make a living out of my art
9.  I would love to show my work to as broad an audience as possible
10. I see my work as public domain (like a book or a play or a piece of music).

 All of the above sounds quite confident and I am - in a way. Yet at the same time I'm ever doubtful and wandering and wondering and struggling (like an artist should! )


  1. Hi Marina,

    I recognize every word in your thoughts on “Being an artist”
    After many years of struggle and feeling insecure of my work I now finally can say that I am proud to be an artist. I enjoy and have to paint every day, it keeps me with my feet on the ground, and stay close to my heart. Life experiences and an open mind for different views help to keep myself developing.


  2. Thanks Mariette! I have had similar reactions from several people on this post - I guess it is a common feeling!! ciao,


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