Thursday, February 3, 2011

All in a Name

Has anyone ever had a problem with being called an artist? I went to BYU after graduating high school. I loved art, but I've always had a big problem with the word/title 'artist.' It really has a lot of mental baggage and stereotypes associated with it. You know, black-clad, beret-wearing, clove-smoking (well, not at the Y), Neitzche-quoting pretentious, artificial people. Yes, I know that that is not what artists really are, but that is the image stuck in my head.

And I cannot get rid of it no matter what! I changed my major five times (psychology, early childhood education, graphic design, psychology and then art) before allowing myself to choose art as a degree. The whole time I was gaining my education (from absolutely normal, wonderful, well-educated and fascinating teachers/professors) I I was never comfortable with the artist stereotype. I wasn't comfortable in my own skin. I can imagine. I can design. I can create. I can craft. I can make. I cannot call myself an artist.

In my last semester I was taking all the fun classes I could to meet my required credits for graduation. I took basketweaving, papermaking, bookbinding, and stained glass. Another young woman in the class had the same issue with the term artist. She suggested 'craftsperson.' I thought that sounded good. But it didn't really stick. I've never been comfortable with any name.

Today I saw a website where the photographer called the people he worked with "artists and creatives". Hmm... what an interesting moniker.

But, then again, I cannot really call myself anything. I'm Heather. I make stuff.

4 comments:

  1. I have the exact same description for myself!

    "Mel Schade - I make stuff"...it makes so much more sense to me and what I do than Artist (with a capital 'A') or Crafter or Designer or any other label. All names and labels are so demanding and nothing seems to fit anyway. Forget labels eh!

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  2. Demanding... that's an interesting way to put it. I guess that goes along with what I said about the baggage that a stereotype carries with it -

    And *nothing* fits me. I like that we make stuff. Lots of it!!!

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  3. I "Make stuff" too. I guess I always thought Artist sounded kindof pretentious, as well.
    (I do wear a lot of black, though...) ;)

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  4. I've always liked artisan... less pompous than artist, no? Or am I fooling myself?

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Whatcha thinkin'?