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Who's an Artist?

Barron Ryan

Artiste  by davejdoe

Artiste by davejdoe

It's official—we're off on the journey to become valued artists. But before we start talking about selling tons of paintings or performing for the masses, we should probably clarify what the words 'valued' and 'artist' mean exactly. We'll tackle value later, because today is all about the artist.

Who's an artist? "Someone who makes art," says the eight-year-old in the room. Fine, but what's art? And I'm not just looking for examples (sorry, eight-year-old). I want to know how painting, sculpture, music, dance, and any creative form you can think of are all connected. What's the underlying nature of it all?

I see art as self-expression through a medium. It's any way that you communicate who you are by what you do, which means that there's a lot more to art than just the traditional examples we all think of.

You express yourself by the clothes you choose to wear, the words you use, and the way you walk. Wearing sweatpants communicates something different from a business suit or even jeans. Saying "I apologize" expresses something different from saying "My bad." Meandering down the sidewalk shows something different from running down it. Everyone is making artistic decisions whether they realize it or not, and what you do sends a message to anyone who's paying attention.

I know, there's a difference between dressing yourself in the morning and making a living as a sculptor. Professional artists have figured out how to earn money (teaser—which is a form of value) by expressing themselves, but we all communicate information about ourselves through our actions. So who's an artist? An artist is you.