I have been reading a lot of books on art and creativity lately. I mostly come across books that are more like self-help books than anything to do with art. They are lying to people.
It is not a fact that everyone is an artist. It just isn’t. You have to be creating art to be an artist, just like you need to be writing articles to be a journalist. Nothing short of that is an artist. You can just call yourself an artist the same way I can call myself a chef because I microwaved some left over mozzarella sticks this afternoon.
The problem lies in what these people are selling. It is not helpful. It is actually harmful. It degrades art in the eyes of anyone who reads these books as the reader thinks they can make art as well, so they are part of the club and art loses it’s magic.
Not only does it effect the art market, (Well, the real art market, not MOMA and shit, but that is for another post) it gives people a false narrative of their lives. They begin to believe they are more than they are and probably starting acting that way. They are now “Artists”.
It’s a ludicrous concept. They mention playing with crayons as a child and thus everyone was born an artist. You have just lost your way. Find your way back to your creative child. No one ever mentions your drawings fucking sucked. No one says that your stick figures had 7 fingers and three legs.
I played with Lincoln Logs as a child. That doesn’t make me an architect. I played with Hot Wheels. That doesn’t make me a race car or stunt driver. I played with Speak and Spell. That does not make me an electrical engineer.
The issue at hand is that there is no definition of what art really is. People say a cake is a work of art. A clever play in basketball is a work of art. Even a shrew-fully crafted tax return is a masterpiece.
If there is no agreed upon definition of art, artist can mean anything. This just isn’t the case. A painted rock can be considered art, but really, who are we kidding? People get off on calling themselves creative and an artist. It’s sad actually. These people are buying dreams to make their boring lives into a journey of the creative self. You need to head back to checking out Facebook posts.
Now, don’t get me wrong. There are a lot of people out there with tons of artistic potential. They could be making awesome shit. They may be stuck in a job and have a wife and kids and don’t have the time for art because they need to put food on the table. I am not talking about those people. But, you DO need to create art before you can call yourself an artist.
The people that never do anything with their “artist” selves is who I am describing. They just walk around telling people, “I am an Artist”. Say it and it is true. What a sad and existence. From now on I am a venture capitalist astronaut.