So many people decide that they are a legitimate artist when they start a professional business. Some people scale whether they are a legitimate artist or not based on if they could quit their full-time job to be an artist for the rest of their days. Some people don’t know what it looks like to be a legitimate artist. But I know what it feels like.
The first memory I have is of my Mom calling me an artist is a story she tells about my middle school antics. I was the Master of Ceremonies for a 6th grade assembly, which was a big important role and not everyone had been given this opportunity. I had to prepare for my role with different introductions for each person that was going to speak. The Principal, a guest speaker, and some other important people that I can’t seem to recall at the moment. My mom doesn’t bring up the point that I had earned this position of power, but she does bring up my actions during the event.
I introduced each speaker with my very own written introduction, but when one of the speakers (a preacher at the time) finished his speech, I got up on stage, thanked him, and then with a big smile, shouted, “Can I get an Amen?” The crowd roared in laughter and majority of them shouted out “amen” and even the preacher beamed. Yes, I was a creative and it felt good to be me.
Many creatives are a creative and that is just who they are.
There is no questioning if you are. And for those that are questioning if you are, you have probably heard “if you are asking yourself if you are an artist or writer, then you are.” It’s true. All that self-doubt about whether or not you should create something that you desire to do is just holding you back from making it.
And honestly, making the metric of work production and business as your creative value, will only leave room for self-doubt to continue to have control over you. Not everyone will buy your art. There will be days, months even, where not a single piece of art will sell. And in the western world, businesses have made it a mission to make production and cost align with each other. If it isn’t making money, than what is the point? Right? At least, that’s what a business person would say.
A creative is who they are, the point of making it is observing what they have seen of this world. The point of making art is to heal, recognize, place value on cultural moments, and most of all, for the sake of merely creating. If you are a creative, you might feel like you have to create to stay sane. I know I do.
When I finally accepted who I was as a creative, I began to produce many, many different forms of creativity. Poetry, book writing, artworks, and even sometimes, I would make music with my husband. I did all of this to avoid the other side of myself, who honestly, I call Susan, and she is a destructive soul, who when invoked, might tear out the eyes of your enemies.
With creativity, comes the shadow side. Destruction.
Now, I know. That sounds crazy, right? But, Charles Bukowski wouldn’t of been sitting at a bar telling a woman her legs were beautiful and so was the bottom of the bottle of whiskey he was drinking if he didn’t have a destructive side. If you are a creative, you have felt this destructive side want to rear it’s head at some point.
My destructive side has reared its head. And I have allowed it to control my choices, but when I took a good look in the mirror and told Susan that she wasn’t going to be the boss of me, that is when things changed. Who I was at my core, my values, and my interests became the forefront of my reality. And that’s when I began creating, again.
Sure, I started selling art and publishing books, but I was long calling myself a legitimate artist before any of the business part of it. I get to choose to call myself a legitimate artist. No one else and the only person I am proving that to is me, because time and time, again, I am asking myself, “Am I a writer? Am I an artist?” and I am proving to myself time and time, again, I am.
Did this post inspire you? Are you on the same artistic journey? Are you an art collector? Share your thoughts down in the comments below, or share with your friends. Follow me on Instagram @mel.bikowski