I’ve never cared much for the label artist. It has an elitist connotation while simultaneously being grossly undefined and carrying a stigma of liberal idiocy that others look at with disdain. People think artist are highfalutin narcissists that are too pampered or lazy to do a “real” job. There are also undertones that you have too be insane and very childlike in your mentality to be a great artist.
Not exactly ideal stereotypes. I generally don’t call myself an artist, and abhor it when I hear other people refer to themselves as such. For the most part the people in my life that call themselves artists are not doing it as their main source of income, and often haven’t been doing it all that long. What makes them different than anyone else who does creative things in their spare time?
I tend to think of myself as a guy who likes to draw. That’s all. Nothing fancy. Yeah, I think I can draw better than the average dude off the street, but I don’t think there is any great divide between us. What I do now is not that different then what I did as a child. Sure, it’s more polished and more people see it, but I’m still drawing for the same reasons. Mostly because I think it’s fun.
I’m pretty sure most people would not have a problem conceding that I am an artist, but they’d want to add a caveat to the title. I’ve been told I’m a cartoonist, an illustrator or a comic book artist. Really? I can’t just be an artist? I wouldn’t mind any of those titles if they didn’t come with a derogatory undertone. Whatever disdain people feel towards artists is multiplied tenfold for the lowly ones who choose to work with line drawings. Cartoons are for children you know. There’s no real art in any of it, or so they’d have you believe.
This attitude has lessened a bit over the years as people began to embrace modern art or pop art, but even then it has to be categorized as such. It can’t just be viewed simply as art with the rest. I hope some day art can just be art and the people who create it can just be viewed as normal people. I think digital art is starting to bridge this gap as it gives everyone a platform to express themselves and create. Only time will tell.