What Is An Artist?

So I finally caved and decided to start following The Daily Post for ideas on blogging. I tried for sooo long to avoid it because I refused to take ideas that everyone else would be trying as well…But, alas, sometimes I need some help getting my creative juices flowing. I learned after NaNoWriMo that as long as you continue to write, you’re good. Whether it’s good. Whether it’s bad. Whether you’re one of seven million people writing about the same exact topic from a topic generator, etc…

So, today’s prompt: Hindsight.

The object is to take the first post you’ve ever done on your blog and rewrite it, now that you’ve had some blogging experience underneath your belt. I’m really down with getting back to your roots. I just spent a week with my parents, and I think the best way to inspire yourself is to remember where you came from and where you started. I had a very specific goal with this blog, one I feel I’ve gotten a good start in achieving, but I’d like to go back and rewrite my initial post to see how much I’ve changed in the few months I’ve been doing this.

So, to refresh your memory in case you never read my first post, here it is: What is an Artist? You can click the link if you’d like to read it to compare, but I don’t want to post it all in here because that’s too many words and if you’re looking at this through your WordPress reader I don’t want it to be like “700,000 more words” and deter you. =)

What is an artist?

That is a question that inspires much opinion. If you’re an artist of any form, you’ll understand some of the struggles that comes with it. If you aren’t an “artist”, when you hear the word, what’s the first thing you think? Most “Normals” (you know, the boring, uncreative people — part of that is sarcasm, part of it is truth let’s just face it) think that “artist” just means a drawer or a painter or someone who produces artwork. But artwork is relative. Art is a subculture all in its own. Actors, writers, publishers, editors, painters, drawers, musicians — we’re all in this subcategory. Because we’re the humans who make things interesting. We bring movies like The Hobbit, The Avengers, Thor, Harry Potter, etc… Books from people like Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, George R.R. Martin, etc… Painters like Thomas Kinkade. Photographers like Ansel Adams. And without artists, there would be no imagination. Everything would be meticulous. Overdone. The world would be a cliche without artists.

But they’re the most underestimated subculture in the world.

What “Normals” don’t understand about artists, is we’re not necessarily in it for the money or the fame. Not me, anyway. Obviously, we’d like to be able to make a living off of what we do and work for ourselves (Corporate jobs be daaammmnneedd), but our essential goal is to create. Artists are creators. We want to make something out of nothing — words out of a piece of paper, pictures out of a blank canvas, moments captured from nature in the form of a picture, etc… and we want people to enjoy our work. That’s my goal, anyway. To produce and create things that will touch, motivate, move, and attract people. Artists have talent, and all they want to do is share it.

It’s harder to befriend artists, I think. That’s why artists tend to group together, because “Normals” don’t understand their creative process. As a writer, I view everyone as a character. I always think, “What attributes about your life can I make into a story.” Why? Because you write what you know. That’s why good writers are also good readers. You have to get facts straight, things need to make sense, you can’t completely make things up as much as you think if you’re not a writer. I learned that the hard way. People don’t understand how much work goes into one novel. When I was younger, I would get mad at J.K. Rowling and George R.R. Martin for taking soooo long in between novels — and then I wrote one. I’ve been working on the same one for four years now. Artists work hard, because they’re constantly revising, re-drawing, taking multiple photos of the same thing, re-sculpting, doing a scene over and over, etc… Because they’re perfectionists. Because we want the “Normals” to appreciate us, because we know they don’t understand us. So when they judge us for how we act in our day-to-day lives, we can show them what we’ve been doing and it all makes sense. (And then all of a sudden we’re the coolest people in the world, but that’s beside the point — because we already knew we were.)

Artists are full of passion. They need it to succeed. It isn’t as simple as hitting Craigslist for job opportunities, showing up for an interview with a portfolio of all of your credentials, and BAM! No, no, dear “Normals.” Being an artist is much harder than that. No one, not even fellow artists, sees the amount of work put into one piece. One blog post from me on this site? Two hours. Easy. It takes you ten minutes to read it, but you don’t know that my coffee’s gone cold while I’ve been writing this and my ass cheeks are hurting from sitting in the same spot on the couch (that last part was a bit of a vent, but you get my drift.) Because that’s what true artists do. They work. And they work. And they work.

This is far from the first post on this site, but I will reiterate some of what it is about (even if you already re-read the first post.) This blog is about me, Andrew Stillman, on my quest to become a successful artist. I’ve been practicing my photography (and I, personally, think it’s improving, because artists have to be at least a little narcissistic about their work or no one will love it), I’ve been posting various short stories, advice, rants, ideas, music, everything I believe I have to bring to the artistic table. My essential goal is, like I said earlier, to be successful. To work for myself and for people to like what I have to offer. While I understand I say no one’s required to, because they’re not, I would still like it, obviously. I don’t write in hopes everyone hates it. It just doesn’t stop me when I come across a hater. Because, I believe somewhere on this site I’ve said before, haters can jog on when it comes to me. Don’t stop your day to try and ruin mine. =)

If you’re interested in more of my writings that aren’t listed under the Short Stories category, be sure to check out The Adventures of Jensen Carpenter (side note, I’m changing the name to Omnipresent Forces after I finish it and re-write it in a book form.) There’s a new post every Wednesday and I’ve only got 3 left!!!

The last thing I’d like to do in this post is to end on an encouraging note. To any struggling artist out there — whether you be my competition in writing, whether you be a painter, a drawer, a sculptor, a musician, or whatever art form you choose to practice — good luck. Keep going. Dreams are there for a reason, and who would we be if not followers of our dreams? They won’t come true if you never chase them.

What are your definitions of an artist? Feel free to let me know below!


4 thoughts on “What Is An Artist?

  1. great post. don’t worry about the who subscribing to Daily Post thing.
    in actuality even the best bloggers will need something to fall back on!
    it is not what the blogger blogs about but that they care enough to blog about it that really makes a blog.


    so i like how you interpret artist and focus on the aspect not entirely of skill, but rather of devotion.

    a thing to ponder however; are we all artists in respect to being human?


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