I am an artist. Those are the hardest words I have ever had to say out loud. Ever. But why? Why is it so difficult to say that I am an artist even when I have been creating art for the last 5 years? Why can I call myself poet, teacher, singer, but not artist?
Let me take you back a few years to when I lived in the Caribbean. Being raised in Dominica was a dream in lots of ways. There is a lot to be inspired by. The island is friendly and calm and nature is everywhere. Life was easy in every way you can imagine. The thing is though, on the island, art is not a 'REAL' job. Sure, I knew artists when I was growing up, but they all had 'real' jobs that paid the bills in addition to the art thing which they did at the weekends and after work.
In many ways that sounds a lot like my art practice today. I am an educator by day and at night and on the weekends, I art. It doesn't matter that I think about art all the time. It doesn't matter that when I am at my table, or in my kitchen creating some sort of art (cakes, poetry, painting, journaling, drawing, crafting), I feel more at home with myself than at any other time. It is still hard to consider myself an artist. Sure I'll call myself a creative, but artist, hmmm that's a word for other people.
Why is defining who we are so tricky? Why can't we just allow ourselves to be who we are and have that be enough? Struggling with what you call yourself is a common occurrence. I am sure every one of us experiences this at some point in our lives. Defining us, depends on so many factors. This includes and is not limited to, how we were raised, the environment we are in, what we place value on and where we are in our life's journey. Still, our art and artist title are valid. Whether we are classically trained or not, whether others recognises us as being good or not. Art is an expression of our deepest soul. An artist is someone who creates art. You were born creative and so was I. Therefore, by definition, I am an artist and so are you. Remember, the definition only matters to you and you can create with or without it.
It is my hope though, that you don't wait around looking for validation on what to call yourself. I hope that you create with every fibre of your being and in that you let 'artist' find you.
Love and light
Charlynne (Artist, poet, educator, inspirational speaker)