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Are You a "REAL" Artist?

by Jillian Amatt - Artistic Voyages about a month ago in art
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It's up to you to decide.

Art by Author 2013

It always amazes me how much power we give words. We see a lot of people writing an article and then saying in the article, “I just like to write, but I’m not a writer.”

I don’t get it.

The word artist is the same.

“I like to do art but I’m not an artist.”

Ummmm, come again now!? What exactly does that mean?

According to Oxford Dictionary, this is what they say the word “Artist” means.

Screenshot by Author

So let’s unpack this a little bit to find out what makes somebody a REAL artist.

1. a person who creates paintings or drawings as a profession OR hobby.

So we can see here plainly that pretty much anybody can create drawings or paintings whether it be for business or pleasure, and they are called an ARTIST.

They don’t seem to define WHICH type of drawing or WHICH type of paintings you are making. Just that you are doing it.

Take my drawing above, for example. Would you call someone who made that drawing an artist?

Maybe you think they are just a doodler and can’t really make good art.

Maybe you think a kid could do that and therefore it’s not art.

But what about this painting?

Detail of large mural by author.

Do you equate this to art? Would you call this person an artist?

Because I did both of them.

Is one better than the other?

I have no idea. That is up to you to decide. I just know that I created both of them, and I thoroughly enjoyed each one for their own, very different, reasons.


2. a person who practices or performs any of the creative arts, such as a sculptor, filmmaker, actor, or dancer.

Of course, this is pretty straightforward. But how many of us do these things and don’t view ourselves as artists? We only think artists are the ones that get big and famous.

We say, “No, THOSE are the REAL artists.”

I don’t think so.

Each and every person who expresses themselves creatively is an artist.



3. a person skilled at a particular task or occupation.

WOW! How broad of a spectrum is this?

Which ‘particular’ tasks or occupations are they talking about?

Are you skilled at a particular task? I can’t even begin to list the options, there are so many to choose from.

Are you an artist in the garden? Or maybe you are an artist in the kitchen?


4. ………..

You know, this is an informal definition and doesn’t really even make sense to me, so let’s skip that one. HA! I’m the writer (artist) here, and I can make up my own rules:)

A little about my artist background

I won’t get into the whole long saga about how I rediscovered my artistic side at the age of 30 in 2006. You can read about it here if you want.

Let's just say it was a lightning bolt moment that shook me to my core. I had spent my whole life telling myself that I was NOT an artist and that I was NOT creative.

Then one day my ass was in the right seat at the right time, and I was shown differently.

I would never have rediscovered my artistic self unless I had had the curiosity to take a pottery class. One simple pottery class.

Nothing I did in my life, at that time, was particularly creative. My husband and I were renovating houses, so I suppose that there was some creativity that went into choosing colors, tiles, carpets, and those sorts of things. But that was the extent of it.

I didn’t draw anything. I didn’t write anything. I didn’t do anything creative.

Then I had the moment. The miraculous moment that shook me out of the stupor I had been living in.

The moment that brought my true being out into the light for everyone to see.

Would you believe me if I told you that I also had a REALLY hard time calling myself an artist?

Even though, after that fateful day, art became my main focus in life, I still didn’t see it. I was too busy comparing myself to other artists that had been artists their whole life.

NO, those were the REAL artists.

I had decided so.

Because I had decided so, I couldn’t possibly decide that I was a REAL artist also. That just didn’t make sense.

But then, one night at a party, a few of us were sitting around and somebody called me an artist.

“Oh, I don’t think I am an artist.” I chuckled shyly.

“Well, then what the hell are you?” He asked. “You are certainly an artist in my eyes.”

I sort of laughed at him, and then looked away hurriedly. This was way too embarrassing.

If he thinks I’m an artist, do others?

Thankfully I managed to change the subject to something more lighthearted and less serious. I felt like I was WAY in over my head with that one!

It’s interesting to note what a profound moment that was in my life. Even now, 15 years later, I remember it clear as day.

I can see now that after that conversation, I ACTUALLY started to believe that I was an artist. It was then that I started to admit that I was an artist. And it was during that time that my life really started to change and I began to step into my true calling.

So I ask you this.


I’ll leave it up to you to decide.

But the sooner you admit it to yourself, the better!

Remember, your dreams DO need YOU to make them real!

Happy Creating!

xo Jill

Hi there, we are 2 Canadians, Jill and Chris from Artistic Voyages. We have been nomadic since 2017 living in numerous different countries, and experiencing the life and diversity of our planet on the ground and firsthand. We have now been on the African continent for over 2 years!

We paint murals for FREE! Join our adventure by hitting the links below!

Website | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | Patreon | YouTube | Medium


About the author

Jillian Amatt - Artistic Voyages

Hi there, we are Jill and Chris from Artistic Voyages! We sold all of our possessions in 2017 and have been traveling ever since. We paint murals as we travel, and aim to spread love through our art. We have now been in Africa for 2+ years!

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Nice work

Very well written. Keep up the good work!

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Comments (4)

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  • Rudy Poeabout a month ago

    Bravo! Not o my are you an artist, for me you are an inspiration. Love your awesomeness!

  • Debra Parsonsabout a month ago

    This spoke to me! I have written off and on since I was a child. I even did quite a few ghost writing jobs over the years. Because I was not courageous enough to try and publish in my own name I refused to consider myself a writer. A REAL writer. My youngest daughter just published her first book, and she has inspired and reminded me that I am an actual writer and always have been. I'm hoping to self publish later this year. Thank you for your article. You really get it!

  • Brenda Georgeabout a month ago

    Very well put! And a lot of my writer friends could benefit from this line of thinking too. Writers write! That is all there is to it! Not published yet? Okay, I'd be shy about calling myself an author in that case, but I'm never *not* going to be a writer in this lifetime again.

  • Catherine Kenwellabout a month ago

    Right on!

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