Friday, February 15, 2013

Part III - Do I have to stick my tongue to a flagpole, people!

a little cork love from olive
Now, it is quite clear to me, through the liberal use of my Magic 8 Ball and a reader's comment (thank you Janell) that we are still not feeling it.

(and it is a proven fact that if one person says something, ten other people are thinking it, so I will trudge on here, plus I like to think ten people are reading this)

This word artist feels like something someone over there is doing - maybe someone with an art degree

(although I know many women with art degrees and some who teach art and call themselves teachers or art teachers, but still choke a little bit on the word artist)

maybe someone with a canvas and some oil paints

(although I know women who paint everyday and because they don't sell what they paint they choke a little bit - or a lot - on the word)

maybe someone with talent.

Gulp, yup, I think it's the "t" word that gets us.

(that little voice that says who do you think you are and not a sweet "who do you think you are?" like we are stumbling around with amnesia and a kindly little old lady asks us our name and hands us a cookie, but more like "who do you think you are?" as if the salesgirl at Bloomingdale's, maybe the one with the super elastic looking eyelashes - I just want to grab them and stretch them out and see where they end up - and the bottle of cologne perched in her hand mid-spiff - has spied us removing our coat with the saggy lining - wth has happened to my coat lining?? - and trying on that $800 leather jacket)

It's the talent thing.

Not, that we see ourselves as talentless, of course, we are damn good at what we do, we are makers after all - we are all in agreement on that one.

We make scarves and necklaces. We make e-books and soap. We make conversations and cookies. We make a business (maybe, maybe not). We make a life with our makings (always). Yes, we are makers.

In what way is a maker not an artist? Name one.
(I double dog dare you on this one)

I think we are I have been a little chicken to use this word. I think it is this little chicken part of me that keeps me from getting accepted into certain shows and certain categories within certain shows. I have been practicing though. I say, "I am an artist" and feel where the tension (block) is in my body and work on releasing that.

(a great release exercise, works for me with pain, too - based on accupressure points and psychology is the tapping solution - very easy to do, google it if you are interested, Cheryl Richardson has a video on youtube - I wouldn't do it in line at the post office, but it is strangely effective)

I say it in the grocery store.

"Paper or plastic?"
"I am an artist."

I say it in the restaurant.

"Lemon in your tea?"
"I am an artist."

I say it to hubs every night.

"Anything good happen today?
"I am an artist."

It's starting to work (I am an artist).

Anyhoo, if this is a conversation that interests you, Seth Godin has an excellent new book, The Icharus Deception, how high will you fly, that may get you thinking about "why we have decided we are not artists and whether it is worth considering why we made this decision and what it might take to unmake it."

No answers from Olive on this one, just more questions - I am feeling the need to relate the word artist to anyone living an authentic life and touching other people with their authenticity - someone focused on the journey and not the finish line - someone like us.

(I am an artist)


lynn bowes said...

Here's my block (even though in my heart and brain and hands, I know I am an artist) : I once had a college drawing instructor tell us in class, 'I do not want you to sign your work on the front. None of you are artists, yet.'

If not then, when?

Yup. Been carrying that one around since 1969.

Am I good enough now?

xox :: lynn

Catherine Ivins said...

yeah- the feeling that we have to earn this word- imagine if that teacher had said to everyone- put your name on it, put yourself all over it, make the space between yourself and your work so teeny, tiny we can't even fit a postage stamp in there and then sit there all shaky and naked and share it with us- you are artists! I love how you include your hands in there Lynn- I know in my hands (and my head and my heart) I am an artist, so beautiful! xo - and this isn't to say that there isn't stuff we have to earn, of course there is - but we earn this word by working from our hearts and being brave enough to share it or we'll never be good enough - what the hell is good anyway

Cait Throop said...

Meanwhile I am loving what you two have written...and laughing about that saleclerk at Bloomies! But yeah, an artist...Do I feel like an artist? no. Am I good at what I do? yes. But... Yikes! Can I call myself an Arteest? sigh. Shaky and naked indeed!

Sherry said...

I have thought about this a thousand times, Cat. I'm not sure any word would encompass all we do, but artist is not right for me.

In a way, it is limiting and if I were just a maker, I would call myself an artist. But, my days connected to my craft are filled with so much more that, so I think a new word might be needed.

Or maybe we've come to a point in our lives where we don't need to label ourselves, don't need anyone's approval or permission for who we are or what we do. And, that feels pretty damn wonderful. xo

Catherine Ivins said...

We just need to own it - it's our word in its biggest, boldest, baddest sense! I dislike the word entreprenuer which is also what we do, but I'm not feeling that one - and I love the word maker and will continue to use it, but it doesn't proclaim the sense of nakedness that artist does, at least to me, at least right now. xo to you Sherry and Cait!

DancingMooney ♥ said...

I'm with Sherry on this one, it's just not important to me, to be labeled as an artist. I just do what I do, and for me, that 'doing' can be ever changing, I'm always open to new ideas, so labeling myself as an artist, is not really fitting. Someday I could be more of a vintage dealer (I spend much of my off Etsy time in this arena already) and will probably grow in that direction online as well. So for me, being an artist is not important. Being authentic, and enjoying every minute of it, yes, absolutely. ♥

Sherry Says "Or maybe we've come to a point in our lives where we don't need to label ourselves, don't need anyone's approval or permission for who we are or what we do. And, that feels pretty damn wonderful. xo"

Catherine Ivins said...

well the old definition of artist - something we earn through money or applause or agreement that we have talent, the old definition is a label of sorts, labels are about judging, I'm this so I can't be that - this isn't about judging ourselves it's more like a place where we stand in our power, a place we've earned by being authentic and connecting - I actually prefer the word creator but it has too much religion attached to it yet - I'm going to snuggle into artist for awhile and see how it feels ... xo Janell

lynn bowes said...

Such great comments here that I had to add just one more. I was in a group of 'artists' a few years back that organized local charity art events and for whatever cockamamie reason, the head honcho wanted all of us to take one of those personality tests. Don't ask me why - she was nutso - but it was one of those recognized tests where everyone would be labeled this or that.

In the end there were only two out of nineteen of us that were labeled 'True Artists' and it was me and another girl who in real life is a CPA. The head honcho was mortified that more people were not artists and especially dismayed that SHE was not an artist in the test sense of the word.

Okay, all of that to say I think Cat is right that there is more to the actual thing of being an artists. my CPA friend Emily is an incredible knitter so that may make her an artist but I wonder if there's a deeper meaning that we are missing and not willing to identify within ourselves.

Enough. xox :: lynn

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Nancy said...

Love it Cat!I way prefer artist over comments like 'you are so crafty!'.I am terrible with 'crafts' but envisioning a garment for someone and dreaming it into being feels like art to me.
aloha :)

Catherine Ivins said...

the word artist is very welcoming these days, if we want it to be! it may not be all that we are- we are certainly much more than any one thing (although this is much bigger than a thing) - I like it though ... xo Nancy and Lynn