Monday, September 19, 2011

Do You Call Yourself an Artist?

In reading Joanne Mattera’s blog today on “Who is a Professional Artist?” I was reminded of a conversation I had with a friend a few years back. I was telling her that I hadn’t had any sales in a while, but I was okay with that as sales are not my primary issue.

In response she said something along the lines of, “If you aren’t selling, why do it?”

I like this person very much and really respect her opinion, so her question did not offend me in any way, though at times I think she thinks she did.

Nope. Not at all. But she did give me much to think about.

Exactly why don’t I care about sales? And why do I keep doing it if I am not selling?

It is a subject I have come back to from time to time in the years since our conversation. Both at times when I am not selling, to times like now, when I am.

After all the pondering, I arrive at the same answer time and time again.

I make art because I have to. It’s not a choice, but a passion.

Yes, a bit cliché, but I’m okay with that too.

Here’s what I think:

• Sales don’t make you an artist.
• Gallery representation doesn’t make you an artist.
• It is consistently working towards a body of work and your belief in what you are doing that makes you an artist.

It took me years to believe in myself and my work. But I kept putting one foot in front of the other and wah-lah, at some point I was comfortable calling myself an artist. The rest just falls in place.

I think titles are nice, don’t get me wrong, but I think it is more important to believe in your journey.

So if you are doubting yourself, just forge ahead. It takes time and determination, but eventually you’ll get there. I promise, I’ve been in your shoes.

Until the next time, may your day be a creative one!


Steph said...

I believe making art is a response to a call. It is like an abiding, yearning, or a hunger deep within my soul. While my dear husband is very supportive of my art, he will never fully understand the craving for and satisfaction/completeness I find in the work.

Kim Radatz said...


I know what you mean, it does run deep. And thankfully your husband is supportive! I have friends that aren't as lucky as we.

Happy creating!

Jenny said...

I can completely relate to this post. At least 2 or 3 times a year, I feel like putting everything in my studio into big garbage bags and heading to the dump. Trying to make art work in my life doesn't make ANY SENSE right now. But I just have to do it. I know if I did take those bags to the dump, I would just sneak back to the art store and buy more supplies. It is core to me and I cannot ignore it. Your words are very encouraging and I completely agree. Just keep moving and focusing on your story.

Kim Radatz said...


It’s encouraging to know we are on the path we are meant to be on, yes? And we are fortunate that we do see it, feel it, and understand it.

I hope making art will make sense in your life very soon!


Artsy Life said...

I needed to read this TODAY.

Thank You for sharing.

Kim Radatz said...

Thanks so much, Tracey! Glad the post spoke to you. Happy Creating!