Miss Pelican's Perch

Looking at my World from a Different Place

What is an Artist?


reader under tree sketchedI have a question for you all.  How do you define “artist”?   And by “artist” I mean a person who engages in expression through any genre or medium:  writer, photographer, painter, sculptor, knitter, film-maker, fry-cook, and the like.   After thinking about how I create, I have formulated this definition for myself:

An artist is one who manifests universal truths through the skillful and imaginative use of tools relative to various media and genres and who draws upon the inspiration of a mysterious external source to accomplish the manifestation.

You may disagree completely with my definition.  That’s okay.  The terms “universal truths” and “mysterious external source” may simply not be a part of your equation.  The definition should be a construct that frames and guides your work.  Whatever works for you.

If you are so inclined, feel free to share your definition in the comments section below.   If you are not inclined to share, that’s okay.  Just think about it.

ljgloyd (c) 2013


4 thoughts on “What is an Artist?

  1. It is my direct line to the divine, creative force which makes me creative and allows me to say that I am artistic.

  2. To me an artist is a person who combines a love and knowledge of the techniques of their chosen craft with an original creative vision.

  3. People have been arguing about this one forever. Especially about the difference between “art” and “craft”. I used to have a lofty definition of who is an artist, and it had something to do with “skills” and “insight”…”unique creative vision” and intent and all that jazz. Until I met and worked with a group of intellectually disabled adults at a creative art centre. Well my gawd… THEY were artists. No argument. They were not able to learn techniques, they just did what they could.

    Regardless of instruction they ended up creating what they wanted how they saw it. Usually it was based on what their favourite colours were. They were not “drawing on The Divine”. They were pleasing themselves. Of course not all of it was wonderful. But there are several persons there that consistently produce naïve yet unmistakably engaging artwork that makes me think about how MANY of the most famous artists would just eat their hearts out.

    I don’t know what the definition of an artist is, but I will tell any artist that if you want to be content, create what you want to see. When I forgot that, working in a mainstream gallery where the prices were high and the patrons were…well…snotty collectors…I got very anxious and started trying to produce what I thought would sell. I had rent to pay, etc. and a reputation to uphold by that point. And I totally lost my drive to create. I mean “totally”. And my “vision”. I used to be so overwhelmed with desire to create this, that n th’other that I was in a rush to get to it all. Then nothing. I was afraid to start. To waste my time and art materials on anything that would be ignored or, worse, deemed inferior.

    I’m just now working my back to being ‘unstuck’. Re-learning to create what I want to see.

    By the way…one of the most soul-destroying states an artist can endure is a DEEP and abiding craving to be “original”. It’s a misery. Not everyone can be original. And there’s nothing new under the sun. Every once in a while though, if you first do what you love, simply what you want to do, your personal flair will become recognizable and that’s as close to original as it gets.


  4. Hmmm…I think an artist is someone who uses various media to express what is in their heart and inner vision.

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