Do You Dare Call Yourself an “Artist?”

What do you call yourself?

From the time you can remember you wanted to be an artist.  Now, you plan your art, you process art, you make, and show your art, yet are you calling yourself an “artist?”  Probably not.

Many of those who have thrown themselves into their quilting, rug hooking, painting, mixed-media, and beyond, who are masters of technique, winners of awards, pillars of their respective industries, still have a very, very difficult time identifying themselves as an “artist,” a “writer,” a “sculptor.”  You can only imagine where that leaves the rest of us!  Who and what are we?

Let me break it down for you:  You are an artist if you say you are.  Claim it for yourself!

You do not have to break new ground with oil or acrylic, like Picasso, to call yourself a painter.  You don’t need to create another Pietà from marble to recognize you are a sculptor.  You don’t need to have volumes of published works to boast of being a writer.  How many quilts or rugs or stained glass pieces must you design before calling yourself a designer?

You are whatever it is you say you are.  You become how you describe yourself.

Oh, sure, it may stick in your throat the first dozen times you try to say it, but say it you must.

“I am an artist.” 

“I am a writer.” 

“I am an entertainer.”

“I am a designer.”

“I am a lecturer.”

“I am a teacher.”

Own what it is you do.  Be the keeper of your image.  Take control of how you want others to see and describe you. Laying your claim to who you are and who you continue to become is a vital part of the art you create and a very important piece of your contribution to the creative community in general.

Call yourself an artist and you will be an artist.  Lay claim to your creative destiny, through your title —  “I am an artist” —  and know that, once declared, all of the benefits, opportunities and recognition will come to you.

You are an artist. Acknowledge it and be at peace with it.  Embrace the gifts that come with declaring who you are and then allow your creativity and creative vision to manifest.

© Pickle Road Studio, LLC

   I hope you enjoy my creative thoughts for hobbyists and crafters.  I post new blog thought entries every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday.  Wednesday’s are reserved for Creative Mojo with Mark Lipinski’s guests and new creative personalities that you’ll want to know and learn about.  Of course, I sprinkle things happening on Pickle Road throughout the week.  

I invite you to subscribe to this blog by clicking  the button on the left side of this post.  Also, why not share my posts with your creative friends and co-workers by clicking on any of  the share links?  If something really resonates with you, print it out and tack it to your bulletin board or tape it to the wall of your creative space, sewing or craft room as a gentle reminder that you can re-read!

As always, I love to hear about your creative life, wins and challenges!  Leave a comment here or email me at  Create and laugh through this week.  And , as always, always do what you love! xoxom

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14 Comments on “Do You Dare Call Yourself an “Artist?””

  1. July 28, 2011 at 10:09 AM #

    This is so true. After creating and writing nearly my whole life….I finally have been able to say this about myself. I hope everyone who reads this takes it to heart! Thanks for your great posts!


  2. July 28, 2011 at 10:24 AM #

    so in need of embracing my gifts. Thank you for this gentle nudge!
    walk in beauty.


  3. July 28, 2011 at 10:35 AM #

    Artist…. the word is difficult. I am not hung up on not having an art degree, truly. Quiltmaking, for me, is about the interplay of colors with each other, and also with geometric shapes. I enjoy working in series, so I can explore a concept through to the end. The concepts I am working with currently have to do with color, and how the geometric shapes affect the relationship of the colors while acting as a vehicle for corralling the fabric motifs.

    My quiltmaking work centers on the process of piecing. Once I finish the piecing, I am pretty much finished with the piece, because I am done working through that concept. I have to work very hard to get the finishing steps, such as the quilting and binding, completed.

    I add texture to my quilts by embellishing with beads and Perl Cotton or decorative machine stitching rather than dyeing and painting on fabric. I do appreciate having an element of hand work involved in my quilts.

    I prefer to work with other artists’ designs on fabric as that “self-imposed rule” provides some boundaries for my work.

    I work very much in the geometric space of quilts, venturing only every once in a while out into the world of realism – or at least pseudo realism – such as with Change of Seasons.

    For Change of Seasons, my Primal Green show quilt, I had a clear idea in my mind of the image I wanted to depict and I needed to work through the process of moving my vision from my head into fabric. This process required some fabric manipulation techniques and I did some of the quilting at the same time that I appliquéd down the leaves.

    My quilts have really come back to the beginning lately. I am making a lot of one patch quilts, which means that I select one shape and work with it in one or more quilts. After selecting the shape, I work very intensely with color and motifs on fabric. The shapes I am using might be simple, but the colorwork makes the overall quilt look more complicated. I also find that the intense colorwork does not compete with the uncomplicated piecing and the work provides an intellectual challenge.

    This direction turned my thoughts to what it means to be an art quiltmaker and whether the simplicity of my work fits in to that space. Does it?
    Still working on it.


  4. Maggie Magee
    July 28, 2011 at 11:23 AM #

    I have never thought of myself as anything else. When I was 4 years old, my crayons, pencils, paints and paper were my most cherished possessions. Artists are basically self-taught. I did go to art school, graduated, and in hindsight realize that going to school did not make me a better artist. My life has been a series of stops and starts–sometimes I don’t do a painting for years, but still know I am an artist. Color and design–compositions whether they be in paint or fabric–simply different media for achieving an end. Fabric has become my friend–a much slower process than paint, but something I cannot do without. The word artist is actually something that one can be with at odds. I think that art is something that is felt–in one’s mind, psyche, and physical being. It can be purposeful and/or mystical. All of us that are artists must work constantly to ward off the dreaded block or going numb. Now I haven’t always done that and it really rough to get back into the art zone after a dry spell. Am I making sense? Well, trying to anyway!
    Maggie Magee


  5. Ida Houston
    July 28, 2011 at 12:07 PM #

    Wow! Thank you, Mark! I am a fiber artist working on also becoming a thread artist. 🙂


  6. July 28, 2011 at 1:26 PM #

    Beautiful post! I am a mixed media artist. I may not have formal training….yet, I put a lot of time in my research and studies, work hard in helping others to learn, and I am constantly creating and experimenting. You have your artists that are taught by an instructor, and you have artists who are self taught. Both can be equally as passionate about their work, and should be respected.


  7. July 28, 2011 at 1:28 PM #

    I am an artist. A quilt artist. You’re right, Mark, that was so difficult to say the first couple of times. But, I believe in myself and my art, and hope that by affirming this, you will, too.


  8. Debra
    July 28, 2011 at 6:04 PM #

    Hi Mark,
    You were talking about writing in your journel and how you were unhappy with how your writing looked….I would like to suggest a Free Hand Lettering Guide made by the Staedtler Co. I used to be a drafter and I used one on blue prints, I still use one to write on greeting cards and when I want something to look really good, like my quilt labels that I do by hand.
    I hope this is helpful.


  9. Sara
    July 28, 2011 at 9:55 PM #

    I have hard enough time claiming that I am a quilter! I am delighted when I don’t cut the tops off of my points and when my blocks turn out pretty square. After I have everything for my project cut out and what should have been my focus fabric hasn’t been cut into tiny squares, that is the pinnacle of achievement for me 😉


  10. Patricia T.
    July 29, 2011 at 9:55 AM #

    Well done, Mark!… Congratulations!
    Important message, well said!
    Thank you!!


  11. janet rivera melero
    July 30, 2011 at 11:20 AM #

    I never knew what i was to be,…to be or not to be,myfather was a wood furniture maker in PuertoRico, my brother sandy sometimes worked on some art paintings and drawings that he never showed to anyone…God rest his soul…my daughter first born loves… sewing machines and has done some quilting and other art decor with paints and other daughter Rach,does amazing nail art …my son loves mechanics…after so many seasons of despair trying to study to be, an english teacher,the haunting thought was always there,ART. I have always put that dream as a side venture… but it follows me where ever i go.. i have done some art work on and off .when i do art i forget about the world, time and space, is this the me to be?…Thank you, for all your special thoughts. ART IN A DREAM.


  12. sleepingdogtextile
    July 30, 2011 at 8:15 PM #

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! for your post about being an artist. It is so difficult to admit. Thank you for the “permission slip”. (Now if I can get a “hall pass”…) Cheers!


  13. August 11, 2011 at 7:10 PM #

    If one calls oneself an artist, shows another their art, and the reply is, “Oh. And what do you do with that?” what should the response be? 🙂


  14. August 4, 2014 at 10:21 AM #

    Gee, I have such a hard time thinking “I am an artist.” I don’t write any more professionally, but in my head, “I am a writer” is easy EVEN THOUGH I’M NOT WRITING ANYTHING but e-mails and Facebook posts. So, why is it so rough to say “I am an artist”?


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