A friend once asked me if I thought photographers were artists. I answered with a resounding yes. She didn’t agree. “After all,” she said, “photographers just aim the camera and click.”
You can say something similar about most of the arts. Almost anyone can slap some paint on a canvas, write a few sentences down on paper, or draw a rosined bow screeching across a few strings, just as anyone can aim a camera and click.
An artist is something more, though. Artists make us see, feel, or hear the world a little differently, if only for that moment. Artists create things that cause us to stop and take notice, consider what is being presented. Art entices us. Love it or hate it, art elicits a response. An artist can be a painter, musician, writer, photographer, cartoonist, dancer, actor, glassblower, cinematographer, weaver, sculptor, or potter, just to name a few.
I might even argue that the comedian that painted these street lines is an artist. It’s original, and it elicited a response from me. (Do you suppose it was his last day on the job?)
An artist is also the woodworker who creates a piece of furniture, cutting the wood so that a certain grain is highlighted, turning a table leg to create a unique design, staining the wood to intensify its natural beauty. Suddenly it’s no longer just a piece of furniture.
A gardener may be an artist. Those who design a back yard in such a way that it makes you want to be a part of it, to sit down and enjoy the kaleidoscope of colors, the sound of a waterfall, and the scent of jasmine.
As a writer, you are an artist. You put words on paper that are rhythmic and enticing. You decide which scenes to include and which to edit so that you weave a tale that lures the reader into the world you’ve created, seduces the reader into committing hours to the story you have to tell.
One of my favorite quotes is by Friedrich Nietzsche. He said:
“We have art in order not to die of the truth.”
I love that. Try to imagine a world with no art — no music, no stained glass, no stories, no textile designs. Talk about bland. Conversely, art IS the truth. It records our history. It celebrates what’s important to each era by the buildings we erect, the music that dominates, the paintings we create. As a writer, you are a part of this history. Celebrate that. Celebrate the artist in you.
I’m always fascinated by the types of art people make. Please, hit the comment button, and tell us what types of art you create.