Thursday, November 14, 2013

I Know You Are, But What Am I?

"When did you first know you were an artist?"

That's the question that has been twirling around in my head for some time.

Along with, "What actually is an artist?" Should it be capitalized, as in a title of sorts. As in "Artist?"

To be an artist does one have to make a living making or producing something that they then sell for monetary means? Does it mean you are high up on the rung of creative persons, always brimming with original ideas? Is artistic the same as creative? What's the difference in Art and Craft? Where's the distinction?


I've always known that I enjoyed artsy-things. Colors.  Patterns. Words. Photography. Dance. The subtleties that color life more richly. Even in my profession as a counselor, I am drawn to ranges of emotion. The rawness of it, at times. I like the way light dances and curves and shifts as much as I do the texture and scent of old wood. I like to note the wide range of octaves that just one person's laugh can embody. Or the subtle way a new haircut can change the way someone carries themselves.

My husband jokes that I'm a seasonal person. Red wine and soup in colder months. Chili being strictly forbidden in the summer, in exchange for cold bottled Coronas and anything that smells like sun-kissed sun feels. There's sweet marrow in the details.

And yet,  although I have this geeky knowledge of myself, coupled with the belief that we are truly all artists in one way or another (you Cake-Baker, Child-Raiser, Plant-Waterer, Joke-Teller you!)...I have never thought of myself as AN ARTIST.

When my father noticed my posted question, he replied that he knew he was an artist at age 10. My father works on cars and engines for a living. Tweaking them, making them faster and more efficient. Getting his hands covered in grease and developing new ideas. And even he acknowledges that that itself is art.

And then I began here. Dabbling in painting furniture. Stenciling numbers up my stairs. Rearranging furniture and creating seasonal displays and completely realizing how much I loved it all. How the more I did it, the closer to myself I became. How the often heady-head shushed itself when my hands were working, and simply went with the flow.

The invitation to participate in an upcoming holiday craft fair arrived. And there was (and IS!) a deadline. A reason to not neglect creating. A purpose for challenging myself creatively and diving headfirst into...dare I say it again...ART! So I created this little space. A name. A logo. I got business cards and am narrowing down my display ideas. And while it is overwhelming and scary, and I have every normal doubt that is both human and heady, it feels freeing in ways I cannot describe.

It feels like this little burning ember down inside my soul just said, "Finally, woman! How long did it take you to acknowledge my presence?! To pay attention to me! To give me a name!"

I think I'm an artist.
I am an artist.
And so are you.