Can’t Call Yourself an Artist?

If you're creating art but finding it difficult to call yourself an artist, don't worry, you're not the only one.

I felt the same way; I discovered my passion for painting late in life and had started painting as a hobby. I felt that I didn’t deserve to call myself an artist, and was so relieved to find out that I was not alone. Lisa Congdon (self-taught artist and illustrator) talks about ‘imposter syndrome’, where a person doubts their abilities and feels that at any moment they will be uncovered as a fraud. Artist or surgeon, male or female, qualified or not, anyone can feel this way. Learning this came as a great relief!

So how do you get to say 'I am an artist' and believe it?

The easy answer is that there are only two things you NEED to do to have the confidence to call yourself an artist: change your mindset, and make art. It's that simple.

However, it may not be that easy.

To change your mindset, you have to decide that you are an artist: it is who you are and what you do. Everything else, like questioning whether your art is genius or a disaster, or fearing that it's only your Aunt Maud and your cat who love your work, is irrelevant. You are making art, therefore you are an artist.

Got to sharpen these babies

Got to sharpen these babies

Maybe you feel that you can't call yourself an artist because you haven't created that one defining piece that came to you in a burst of golden, glorious inspiration, and you are waiting for that to happen. As long as while you wait you are creating and making art, then you are an artist.

I hope that you can see a pattern emerging; if you are creating, painting, drawing, doodling, mark-making etc., you are an artist.

Go to the mirror. Look into your eyes and say, ‘I'm an artist, dahhhliing!' Repeat until you feel the truth of it. Now go and make art.

Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.
— Andy Warhol