Rebecca Wise Girson Art Blog
At what point did you finally refer to yourself as an "artist"? Was it when you graduated from art school? Was it when you sold your first piece? Or was it when you sold enough that you took the leap and left your "day job" so you could pursue your art full time?
As an artist with a day job, I struggle with actually calling myself an "artist". For example, when meeting new people who ask me what I do, I immediately tell them that I manage a solutions engineering department for a software company. Blank stares usually follow. I assume it's because they either a)have no earthly idea what I'm talking about or b) they're still trying to wrap their heads around me having any form of the word "engineer" in my job title (hey-I have business cards to prove it!). Whatever the case, it would probably be a lot easier if I introduced myself as an artist but I never do. Is it because I have no business cards to back up my claim? Maybe it's because of the way the question is usually framed..."What do you do for a LIVING?" The word "LIVING" indicates making "MONEY". Is it because I make more money with my day job than with my art that I struggle with defining myself as an artist?
I know I shouldn't worry about putting a label on myself. What I do to make money does not define me as a person. I am much more than what I do for money, though sometimes I lose sight of that. If it wasn't for needing an outlet to cope with the stress of my day job, I may never have started painting in the first place. My day job, not my art, is what currently pays for the paint and the canvas I paint on. My day job has enabled me to see the world on someone else's dime and that has had a huge impact on my art. And though it frustrates the hell out of me some days (Ok, most days), I have to admit that I truly thank God for my day job!
So what must I do to feel more comfortable with calling myself an artist? I mean, am I not an artist simply because I create? That alone should be enough (but I'd better get some business cards to prove it).