Is there even such a thing as a real artist?
Every now and then, I read comments on various social media sites where somebody tries to tell an artist whether or not they are a real artist. They say things like, “You need to use such and such materials to be a real artist,” or “You’re cheating if you do art this way,” and many other similar comments.
In my opinion, these people are royal turds who either a.) are artists themselves and think the way they do things is superior or b.) they are art critics that think tearing down creators will make them sound good or c.) they are just trolls.
Of course, there may be other reasons for telling an artist they aren’t a ‘real’ artist, but I think those three scenarios cover most of them.
I apologize for my sassy tone at the moment, but it really grinds my gears when other people try to crush the spirit of an artist. Intentionally or unintentionally.
So, what even makes you a real artist?
In the spirit of defying all the trolls and naysayers out there, I have a more inclusive perspective of what makes someone a real artist. If you find yourself ever wondering “Am I a real artist?” or if some a**wad on the internet told you that you aren’t a real artist, this post is for you.
You are a real artist if:
1. You make art.
This can be with photography, digital design, collage, painting, drawing, sculpture, architecture, cooking, printmaking, song writing, dancing, and so much more. There are no limits to the materials and media you can use to create art. If you make art, you are a real artist.
And it doesn’t even have to be ‘good’ art.
2. You put any amount of time into creating.
There are no time requirements for being a real artist. You don’t have to put in ‘x’ amount of hours. If you enjoy making art and put any time into it, you are a real artist.
Now, if you want to be a skilled artist, the amount of time you put in does matter. But real is not synonymous with skilled.
3. You fall anywhere between having no skills, and being an expert at what you do.
Skill level honestly doesn’t matter when determining if you are a real artist or not. Critics will disagree with me. Some might say you have to create skilled work in order to be an artist, but I say your skills only come into the equation when you want to be a financially successful, accomplished, professional artist.
If you are doing the work, you are a real artist.
Titles often don’t determine if you are good at something. So being an artist does not necessitate that you create skilled work. Hence my general distrust of anyone with a title in any industry. A phlebotimist that can’t find your vein during a blood draw and wiggles the needle around until you want to pass out is still a phlebtomist. Just not a very skilled one… *true story*
Are you a real artist?
You’re just going to have to face the facts. If you make something that involves creativity–you’re an artist. A very real artist.
What about ‘Fake’ artists?
If you didn’t create the artwork you are portraying as your own, but you put on a show that you did–well, you aren’t the artist that created that work, but you could be a con-artist, and that’s still technically an artist… lol, jk–kind of. I need to think about that more.
Or Impostor Syndrome?
If you make artwork, but feel like you still don’t belong in the art world or deny yourself the title of Artist, then you my friend may be suffering from Impostor Syndrome. Like me! I still feel like I have to prove to myself that I am an artist.
On the matter of haters and trolls:
It’s the sad truth of the internet, but there is a veritable cornucopia of trolls roaming around. If you are excited about something and put it out there, chances are pretty good that someone will come along and try to take that away from you.
Because you actually suck as an artist? No.
Because your work is really bad? No.
It often has nothing to do with you or your art. When someone makes a negative comment, they are opportunists that are just taking advantage of your work to promote their negativity. It’s best to ignore them.
The haters and trolls only win if they succeed in making you feel bad about yourself or your art. Don’t let them win! Be defiantly optimistic and keep creating with enthusiasm!
The point is…
It doesn’t matter what art supplies you use, how good you are, how big your following is, what styles you practice, what medium you prefer, or anything else really.
If you make art, you are an artist. And if you are an artist—you’re a real artist.
Simple as that.
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P.S. You probably know by now that I am here to help artists with these posts. If you need help with your online branding, Instagram account, or just want a creative accountability coach, then check out my consulting services. You can easily add a session to my online calendar now.