I never went to art school. No one ever handed me a diploma and said, “Congratulations! You are officially an artist.” It doesn’t work that way. Some people like the idea of drawing or designing for a living but that doesn’t make them an artist. No. To be an artist you need one simple thing: Inspiration.
So what is an uninspired artist? Depending on the field you are a craftsman or a technician or a graphic designer etc. All these titles help define us as artists and in general.
I’m a carpenter. When I first design a chair I’m calling on inspiration. If I don’t have any, I stop thinking. I want to be inspired before I start and when I finish. That’s why I haven’t designed a new chair in over 5 years. Now, once the chair is designed I need to recreate that chair for every customer. Usually 12 chairs at a time. That is when I switch hats from artist to craftsman. I want to be the craftsman; that way the customer gets the piece of art that I designed as an artist. This is how it works as a working artist. We don’t always get to call on inspiration. Some times we have to focus on design.
Do you have inspiration? I think this is something we really need to ask ourselves before we get into a career that demands it. You need to be inspired and have a source of inspiration. My source is the wood and stones we use in my Dad’s shop. When I design chairs its a feeling that I want to feel when I sit. When I write, it is the blank space in front of me demanding to be filled.
All this being said, I would like to point something out. There are good technicians, craftsman, designers, etc. and bad. But as far as artists, there are no good or bad. Just real or pretend. Someone who runs a brush on a canvas without any inspiration is a painter, not an artist.
So tell me. What inspires you? When you wake in the morning does the taste of coffee ignite your soul? Does the smell of sawdust draw you in? Is it the feeling of an old book in your hand drawing you close to authors of long ago? If your answer is yes, then, whatever energy you turn out from that is your art. Whether that is brewing coffee, raising your kids or splashing paint on a canvas, you are an artist and that task is your art.
Drop a comment and let us know what your inspiration is! I’m sure it will inspire us as well!