I don't draw. I mean, technically I can draw, but I don't feel like I have a much skill at it. My talent lies more in words and sound — in undergrad I focused on poetry because I knew it would probably be the only time in life when I could study whatever I wanted, and rhythm and rhyme were it.
I took an art class from a friend a few years ago and created the images above. The teacher seemed surprised at my skill level (methinks her standards were low!). She also objected when I complained that people only tend to apply the label "artist" to those in the visual arts. She pointed out that in schools most of the funding (if there is funding for art) goes toward band, theater, or choir, not visual art. She wasn't wrong.
Although I don't consider myself a visual artist I am creative, and I think that creative spirit can be expressed in many ways, including everything we think of when we hear the word "artist," as well as creativity in business and home life.
What do you think of when you hear the word "artist?" Maybe people like Van Gogh or Beyoncé? And who among us gets to decide who gets the rights and privileges to call themselves artists? I think culture has a lot to do with it (In particular, I'm thinking of Black clothing designers who have their ideas used without credit given). I also have a feeling I will be returning to this topic again.
I feel fortunate to have been able to experiment with any creative medium I like. And I also have had the privilege to choose not to care if someone thinks I'm not a "real artist." Not everyone has this same freedom, though, especially if their main livelihood comes from art. What are your thoughts and experiences?
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Rachel Moore, LMFT, (she/her) is the host of Beyond Artist's Block. Rachel is a Licensed Marriage &. Family Therapist based in San Diego, California. She is certified in EMDR and trained in Brainspotting, and she focuses on working with creative clients, including writers, artists, and musicians.