All in a Name

Has anyone ever had a problem with being called an artist? I went to BYU after graduating high school. I loved art, but I've always had a big problem with the word/title 'artist.' It really has a lot of mental baggage and stereotypes associated with it. You know, black-clad, beret-wearing, clove-smoking (well, not at the Y), Neitzche-quoting pretentious, artificial people. Yes, I know that that is not what artists really are, but that is the image stuck in my head.

And I cannot get rid of it no matter what! I changed my major five times (psychology, early childhood education, graphic design, psychology and then art) before allowing myself to choose art as a degree. The whole time I was gaining my education (from absolutely normal, wonderful, well-educated and fascinating teachers/professors) I I was never comfortable with the artist stereotype. I wasn't comfortable in my own skin. I can imagine. I can design. I can create. I can craft. I can make. I cannot call myself an artist.

In my last semester I was taking all the fun classes I could to meet my required credits for graduation. I took basketweaving, papermaking, bookbinding, and stained glass. Another young woman in the class had the same issue with the term artist. She suggested 'craftsperson.' I thought that sounded good. But it didn't really stick. I've never been comfortable with any name.

Today I saw a website where the photographer called the people he worked with "artists and creatives". Hmm... what an interesting moniker.

But, then again, I cannot really call myself anything. I'm Heather. I make stuff.


Mel Schade said…
I have the exact same description for myself!

"Mel Schade - I make stuff" makes so much more sense to me and what I do than Artist (with a capital 'A') or Crafter or Designer or any other label. All names and labels are so demanding and nothing seems to fit anyway. Forget labels eh!
Heather Eddy said…
Demanding... that's an interesting way to put it. I guess that goes along with what I said about the baggage that a stereotype carries with it -

And *nothing* fits me. I like that we make stuff. Lots of it!!!
kelahfawn said…
I "Make stuff" too. I guess I always thought Artist sounded kindof pretentious, as well.
(I do wear a lot of black, though...) ;)
Ann Martin said…
I've always liked artisan... less pompous than artist, no? Or am I fooling myself?

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