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How do you Label yourself as an Artist?


I recently watched an interview of a friend and fellow artist that I admire. I noticed that he referred to himself as a ‘Practicing Artist.” I asked him why he didn’t use the term International or professional artist? As someone who has worked in the trade for many years and often has a sell-out opening night, I would call him a professional artist.

His answer was “I was never really comfortable with the word professional for some reason. Maybe it sounds a bit pretentious to me. Art practice, law practice has a nice “ring” to it”.

Having worked with hundreds of artists over the years, the subject does come up. Working on their ad campaigns I often ask then to identity themselves so folks know without question what they do.

Having sold several paintings and taught classes in Mexico I could label myself as an international artist.

When I interview artists, I often ask them if they are working full-time on their art. If they are, I make that conclusion that if they are consistently selling their artwork, then I would call them a professional artist. Another label I use, but question, is the wording “Fine Artist’. If you look up the definition of fine art you will read, ’being held up as the highest standard of artistic expression.’

Perhaps 3-D artists have it much easier, as all they have to say is: I am a potter, I am a wood-worker, I am a jeweller, I am a glass artist etc. Without any adjectives attached, you immediately know what they are all about.

I suppose in the art world an identifying factor is what you do and how well do you do it.

In a changing world where people don’t always want to put a label on themselves, as an artist perhaps we should drop some of the labels, call ourselves painters and let our art ‘speak for itself’.

Just a crazy thought...from a part time, professional, painter, and practicing artist.

Last Updated on: 2024-04-17