In short, yes!
The dictionary defines an artist as “someone who paints, draws, or makes sculpture” – but is the dictionary always right? Not only does this reduce the practice of an artist to only three mediums, but it also doesn’t cover the many ways artists are defining themselves and their work today.
The definition then goes on to give an example: “Monet is one of my favourite artists.” I’m sure Monet is a lot of people’s favourite artist, but using this Impressionist painter, whose work adorns the walls of grand museums around the world, as the pinnacle of an ‘artist’ fails to consider the full scope of what being an artist is. Here’s why…
Basquiat via Wikimedia Commons
Artists don’t have to follow the rules
Artists can paint, draw and make sculptures, but they can also make performance art, digital art, film and so much more outside of the confines of the canvas. Alongside the more traditional mediums, it is the artists pushing boundaries that have made art what it is today.
Take Basquiat for example. The American artist started his career on the streets of Brooklyn, New York with a spray can of paint. Working at night, the self-taught painter began by creating graffiti before building his practice to make the works we all know and love.
Basquiat’s works now live at the Whitney Museum of American Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and more, but what is most impressive is that he didn’t let not having an art degree or a gallery commission stop him from expressing his creativity at the start.
Rembrandt: The Artist in his Studio via Wikimedia Commons
Artists can make art from anywhere
Picture an artist at work – what do you see? When you search up an image of an ‘artist’, they’re working from a huge easel in a perfectly organised studio (albeit a few paint splashes here and there), smiling as they have all the time in the world to create their masterpieces.
This might be true for some artists, but the reality for many could be painting from their bedroom in their spare time or joining evening art classes to work on their skills. It’s important to remember that there is no ‘ideal’ place or time that art should be created, it’s all about finding what works for you.
Mónica de Miranda's exhibition at Carlos Carvalho Gallery via Wikimedia Commons