the dilemma of calling yourself an artist

What is an artist? Somehow most of the world has not decided on what art really is – many don’t agree with modern art as they have decided an artist is a genius, someone who is a mastermind – who has created and thought of creating something so magnificent that he/she really is not a normal human, godly-like, a super-intellectual. The art hisorician may laugh here a little as this notion of artist-the genius was not known always known. The Renaissance with Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinvi only gradually started to develop this notion of the artist as „genius“ thanks to the fact that humans were regarded as magnificent God-shaped creatures. But they still mainly did art on commission as „craftsmen“ do, e.g. for the Medici family and the Vatican. For the middle ages the artist was generally a simple craftsman like a plumber, someone who created something for someone else as he had learned a certain skill, a trade. Even the king’s artists were not allowed to paint what they wanted and to have „aha-moments“ by trial and error- they only were so clever to incorporate their ideas within the allowed royal painting tradition. Velazquez did so, for instance. Hmmm..and nowadays? Is an artist crazy? A free spirit? Someone who lives on the outskirts of society? Literally, because they have no money? Or because they do not agree with society? Is art always expression of feeling? Is it political? Should it be? Is it connected to feeling? Or is it postmodern recreation of the Mona Lisa by graffiti artists, and by Basquiat? Or are even Mona Lisa- memes art? Does it have to be new?

Of course, there is not one answer to this question. Who decides what art is? What an artist really is? Is it because of them or because of what they create? These two questions are highly intertwined if we,for example, look at Marina Abramovic, who decides her own body to be art or at Atticus, the famous instapoet remaining anonymous.

I think that art is what cannot otherwise be  expressed. We write because our body is not sufficient to express, we paint because only our words are not sufficient to express our feelings when looking at the earth, at our beloved. etc. However, if you think about it, the question is also: Who can call themselves an artist? Am I an artist if I create something based on my own ideas, even only occasionally on this blog? Isn’t it pretentious to say so? Are only the so-called visual artists „real artists“? Doesn’t someone else decides if I am or not? Do I create this narrative? Are only Da Vinci, Frida Kahlo, Max Ernst and all the big names big artists? In my mind, I am not even allowed to be called as them – is the word artist a spectrum or is it not and not allowed to be? If you start making money of it, is then your craft your art? Or does it stop to be art because of monetary gain? Could all these questions be expressed through art? Do I have to provoke to be an artist or do I have to be nice? In the spotlight or the shadow? Let the work speak for itself or be part of it?

Or maybe, just not think about it, and call it „my stuff“, „my poems“, „my writing“ etc.? Maybe art is a feeling in every cell of yourself that you were meant do it? Maybe art is the only way you can cope with this world? Maybe it is necessary? Maybe it is happiness? Maybe beauty out of pain more real than reality? And would be art even without this word, „art“, even without words, if words would not exist? And you see, I am struggling here – only art could express what I mean and feel. Art can save us from struggling. Art. Created by an artist.

  Mona Lisa, Leonardo da Vinci, 1503-06

 Pietá, Michelangelo, 1498-1500

Sources (photographs): Pixabay (Jack78)


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