Friday, April 9, 2010

All Sorts of People

What defines an artist?


from Grolier's The Book of Knowledge, published in Canada in the early 20th century:

"In the autumn some people can call up clearly in their mind's eye the vision of what a certain landscape looked like in the spring. It is natural for them to notice these things, and to make these comparisons or associations. When they are talking to people, they do not attend very particularly to the tones of the voice, and they are perhaps not particularly interested in what is being said, but they are watching and remembering and comparing what other people never notice at all, even in the faces of people that they love - the movement of the eyelids, the little tricks of the lips, the poise and movement of the head, and so on.

These people are artists, drawers, painters, sculptors, architects, and decorators. It is unfortunately true that the artistic people usually despise the scientific people because they care so little for beauty, and often make such ugly things; and the scientific people, in their turn, despise the artistic people for caring so much about the mere surface of things, and being so little interested in what lies behind them.

But when men grow wiser they will learn how foolish all this is, and that both these kinds of people are necessary, for it takes all sorts of people to make a world."

Hmmmm...what defines an artist to you? Discuss...

15 comments:

Jill Zaheer said...

Okay, I'll go first... but will tread slowly and then perhaps jabber on when more people chatter. Part of being an artist- for whatever venue or type of artist you are- whether the creative arts, musical arts, scientific arts etc - is the confidence and mind set that there is a quality of "expertise" that you can do well to your own expectations and then express it. I think the critical part is the "expressing" part- and in whatever manner you do it. So some express through a painting, a sculpture, through their writing, music, yes, even medicine- as a craft and not a purely scientific profession. I think it also has to do with some type of validation needed by the person that usually comes externally by others, though it can come internally. So these are the first thoughts which came to me. Hope more people respond so there can be lots of varied ideas and dialogue. And the best part- is that being an artist is really up to one's own definition of art- and in the time period and location for which we live. Many of our world renown artists weren't recognized to have "talent" until they passed away and a person of "importance" took an interest in their art. And when a person you respect likes a "body of work", then others tend to gravitate to it and it becomes something liked that others become drawn to. Better stop here or you will be on to your next post while I'm still writing! :)

Patty said...

What defines an artist ... hmm, I don't think artists can really be defined. Maybe an artist is someone who can find "art" in anything be it a smell, a feeling, a place, etc.

TechnoBabe said...

An artist to me is someone who has ideas they don't even know are in their head and they let it work its magic in what they create by letting the good stuff find its own way out.

Outside The Lines said...

A very difficult thing to define, but I guess for me a working definition would be "a person who lives and breathes art" i.e., thinks about art, creates art, views life through an artistic lens,constantly thinks of ways to make the planet more beautiful, feels exuberant when in the presence of great art, loves to roam through art stores, loves art galleries, museums, loves reading artists' blogs....I could go on, but dare not as I may never end!

MrCachet said...

Okay...

I'm a 'watchful' but not necessarily a wary person. Perhaps a bit naive. Although I enjoy 'watching' people, I spend most of my time - alone - absorbed in what I do best - expressing myself with my tools. Letting others see what I see in the commonplace and mundane, and giving it a life is artistic expression at its best. Unless you do it for the joy of giving life to a surface which had very little of its own expression, it isn't worth doing. My opinion.

Dede Warren said...

I think there are far more artists than those who admit it, or possibly even know it... be it the art of cooking, gardening, homemaking, or what we believe to be typical art with ink, paper, paints, textiles and more. Anyone who is creative in any form is an artist to my way of thinking. It doesn't matter the level they preform to, or how accomplished a person is... remember beauty is in the eye of the beholder!

Jacky said...

For me art is something very personal, something that I do just for myself.

Art makes me happy, it fulfills a very deep place within me that nothing else seems to touch. It allows a certain freedom.

I love looking at art...be it a painting, sculpture, architecture, a garden, a most beautiful view. All forms of art.

Jacky xox

Julie said...

I dunno...I have trouble identifying something that is not cut and dry....

Lynn said...

Being rather new to discovering myseslf as artist, I found it interesting to read how the way I look at everything around me equates to my artistry. It's true, sitting with clients I have to almost hold my hand down so as not to draw their facial features in the margins of my note pad; I see so much further into a flower than I ever realized before, I notice notches in wood I pass on my walks by fences, trees...it amazes me...it's as if I have come up from the ground and am seeing my world for the first time...what a newborn must do before becoming used to its surroundings and taking them for granted.

Lisa H said...

Here's a question back:

What would happen if we dropped all labels?

Would that throw a monkey wrench into the whole concept?
(I hope so...we LOVE monkey wrenches!)

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

I came from the scientific community to the art world. I don't find it that much different. I use the concepts from math and geometry in my art. I use mixing formulas when working with color. I don't think we can separate the two.

Of course, I still have trouble admitting I'm an artist. I feel so inadequate in that area, still. I KNOW I'm a scientist because I have the degrees to prove it, but I don't have that same validation as an artist. Perhaps perception should be part of the formula.

Great question, though.

Michelle said...

Interesting.

I think being an artist is simply the desire to create something strong enough that you do.

Mary Helen-Art Saves Lives said...

Jill blew me out of the water with her defining words...I sometimes make myself ignore the label "artist" and recognize my internal integral need to make sacred marks...a flow as if found in the movement of water...infinite waves radiating from the center of our being. I am evolving and with each day's passing I recognize my need to have evidence that I made the most of the time I give to my works is the simple evidence that I was here and will remain on my journey just as a photon of light. Great Post Seth! Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

deb said...

Like bleubeard & Elizabeth I was a scientist first, and I have always been good at abstract things, physics, math... for me artists ask questions, we see, what I make is not as important to me as what I am asking when making, for me personally art is an intellectual thing, not simply a feeling thing, but too art makes itself if you ask the right question at the right moment. Hope that makes sense to someone out there!

Karin Bartimole said...

Great discussion topic Seth. So many ways to define it - professionally, philosophically; literally, idealistically... I've grown to appreciate most people as artists in one form or another, because I believe it's important to recognize the creative spirit in each of us. Watching someone take care in the preparation of a meal, composing a well written letter, arranging a nicely set table, taking care when putting on a special outfit - each of these tasks is an artistic expression. Does this make the person an artist? probably not... But maybe a temporary artist! To me a true artist is one who has the courage to express and create an idea that is within them, freely, creating it from beginning to end, without allowing outside influences to color or change the truth they long to express - whether it be music, art, story, what ever. Passion expressed, again and again!