Craftsperson, maker, artisan - these are all within our comfort zone, so what is it about the word artist that makes our palms itch.
(and yes, I realize I am using the word "we" while having no idea how you, dear reader, feel about this, but I have a suspicion you might feel like I do .. plus I shook my magic 8 ball and it read "it is certain", so I feel compelled to continue)
(he also teaches music and can play anything, which makes him totally talented and yes, a wee bit annoying, dammit)
He was born like this - we have no idea how and if it wasn't for his addiction to Pixar movies and blue cheese we might think the hospital made one of those switched at birth mistakes that Lifetime movies and million dollar lawsuits are made of.
When you have an artist in the family - everyone else, kind of just by default, becomes 'not an artist'. It goes without saying that when someone can draw anything and someone else is gluing feathers to a plastic sandwich bag and calling it a pocketbook (yes, this is the part where I come in) it's probably not going to be called art.
But when we define art as "the making that has something to say, something that connects", things shift (yes, maybe even for a plastic bag decorated with feathers).
The things, which do not even have to be things and often aren't, created with heart and soul and originality and boldness; the things birthed from our desire to express, our desire to be vulnerable and connect - are art. And if artists are people who make art, then who are we again?
If we explore artist archetypes and their shadows : genius (madness), success (starving artist),
talent (ecentricity) we can see that this new paradigm we are living in requires some archetypal tweaks.
"art is not a gene or a specific talent. art is an attitude, culturally driven and available to anyone who chooses to adopt it. art isn't something sold in a gallery or performed on a stage. art is the unique work of a human being, work that touches another. most painters, it turns out, aren't artists at all - they are safety-seeking copycats." - seth godin
And if we are still thinking - all well and good but, I'm still not comfortable with this word, this word just isn't me - maybe it would be worth taking some time to figure out how we have arrived at this decision, maybe it is worth looking at what we are really afraid of.
part III what am I really afraid of