When I was in an advanced fiction program ten years ago, I never introduced myself as a writer, because it's inevitably followed by, "oh, really, where are you published?" I am a writer, have written all my life: poetry, essays, and a collection of short stories, albeit unpublished. (Nobody really wants to hear about the book forwards and prefaces or the ton of commercial writing) and I've been blogging for several years now. It is very fulfilling when I get blog comments as much about my writing as art. So, I write, I've done loads of photography/ darkroom work I paint almost every day and dabble in lots of mixed media but only recently did I acknowledge that "I am an artist."
Not so coincidently, it was at Seth's Random Arts workshop back in April where I had a blast with my best art bud, Rachel Stewart. Seth and I have corresponded regularly but it was the first time I met him (which I'd highly recommend if you have not done so). During the few days we had the 'what makes a creative an artist' discussion and I realized that, while I have no formal training and my resume is brief, I have had some exposure, sold pieces and recently juried into an exhibit defining mixed media art. So, what is the point?
I shudder when I hear "I don't have a creative bone in my body," and yes, it took me well into adulthood to claim the passion I've been nurturing all my life. The point is that it shouldn't be an issue but it is. A huge one. Even without my few public ventures I would still be an artist. Read the post and the responses from those brave enough to comment about their struggles. Mine is the one that says: Of course I'm an artist! A guy at a workshop embarrassed me into calling myself one... what a great guy!" And that, he is without a doubt. If the wealth he spreads in this art world was monetary he could buy a country. A fairly good-sized one.
No post is complete without photos so below are a few shots of the book I made after Seth's workshop. Did I really put a magic wand on the cover?? Of course, I'm an artist :)
Another fairly permanent lesson I learned was that working outside the confines of the directions is not only very liberating, it's OK! Problem-solving and breaking all the rules is the greatest fun of all!
If you haven't read/commented on Seth's page I'd suggest it!