I’ve always thought of myself as an Artist. When you say that, most people think of a visual artist of some type. And I used to draw and share my drawing with others. (This was before the internet so fortunately there is not a deviantart account out there with my name on it) But my drawings were terrible, no matter how polite people were about it. I always wanted to get better, but it must not have been that important to me, so I didn’t so much as take one art class at any point where I had the opportunity. So, eventually, I stopped drawing.
But a writer is an Artist too. I consider an Artist to be anyone who produces creative work, then shares it with others. The sharing is important. That’s what turns you into a capital A Artist, no matter your skill level. I think you can be an artist without sharing your work, but it’s with a lower case a. The sharing is where growth happens. It’s what helps you get better over time.
But to be an Artist is not just to produce creative work. Being an Artist is a way of looking at the world, a way of processing what happens to you. It’s taking everything you go through, and putting it in a crucible, then subjecting it to the heat of the creative process, transforming it into something that can be shared with others, be it a story, an essay, a drawing, a painting, a photograph, a knitted shawl, or a performance, among other things. To be an artist is to believe that everything happens for a reason, and every experience has something to teach us. Everything – heartbreak, grief, love, euphoria, even failure – can be used to help you make great art, whatever your medium.
That’s the Artist’s way. A way of seeing, of being, of encountering the world and using those encounters to reflect the world back on itself, transformed.