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Calling Yourself an Artist

Michelle CorneliusHow important is it to identify yourself as an artist – to others, and especially to yourself?

What if you don’t get awards for your creative work? What if it isn’t even seen by others?

Are you still an artist if you are doing something else for survival?

Psychologist Robert Maurer has worked with many creative people and researches the dynamics of success. He comments:

“The people who love their craft and see themselves as artists, and carry that identity through and study each day… are the people who thrive. To me, that’s the only definition of success that matters.”

“Successful people are able to sustain their identity as separate from their profession and what’s happening to them. That’s particularly important in the arts, where what happens to you bears only faint correlation to your talent.”

From article: The Vision Thing by Karen Kondazian.

Dr. Maurer is author of several titles including The Spirit of Kaizen: Creating Lasting Excellence One Small Step at a Time.

In an article of hers, art business consultant Alyson Stanfield writes she has “been surprised at how difficult it can be for artists to introduce themselves as artists…

“It seems to be easier for people with art degrees to pronounce their profession to the world. This might be because there is a piece of paper that says you completed a curriculum to the satisfaction of an institution.”

She notes, “For most people, there is no turnkey moment when they say, ‘NOW I know I’m an artist.’ It’s more of a slow, steady slog on the way to the title.

“This is why it can be difficult to introduce yourself when you are in the process of becoming. But this shouldn’t stop you from trying.”

She notes that introducing yourself as an artist can have significant professional benefits, and “Not introducing yourself as an artist results in missed opportunities.

“When you stop apologizing for your art . . .  when you stop waffling on your purpose . . . others begin to view you as an artist. And even though you may not be perfectly comfortable with the title, this buy-in from others will help build your confidence.”

Alyson Stanfield-workshopShe advises to stop introducing yourself in social situations with a label from your day job, and to lead with, “I’m an artist.”

From post: “Introducing Yourself as an Artist,” January 15, 2014, by Alyson B. Stanfield, founder of Art Biz Coach. She helps artists, galleries, and organizations gain more recognition, organize their businesses, and sell more art.

She is author of the book “I’d Rather Be in the Studio: The Artist’s No-Excuse Guide to Self-Promotion” – which “offers practical advice to help you sell more art and build an art career that lasts.” Visit her site for her blog and book, plus workshops, programs and free resources.

The photo of Stanfield leading a workshop is from my Inner Entrepreneur post Business Success for Artists – ArtBizCoach Programs.

A final quote:

“Creative expression derives directly from the unique Self of the creator…I believe the whole process is accompanied by a feeling of aliveness, of power, of capability, of enormous relief and of transcendence of the limits of our own body and soul. The ‘unique self’ flows into the world outside. It is like giving birth.”

Annemarie Roeper [Quoted in the book The Gifted Adult by Mary-Elaine Jacobsen, PsyD.]

[Photo at top: artist Michelle Cornelius and her artwork “Path to Superstition” from page: 2010 Art Show Winners, Gilbert Visual Art League.]


Calling Yourself an Artist

Douglas Eby

Douglas EbyDouglas Eby, MA/Psychology, is a writer and researcher on psychology and personal development related to creativity; creator of the , and author of books including [link to book site with excerpts.]
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APA Reference
Eby, D. (2014). Calling Yourself an Artist. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 13, 2020, from


Last updated: 19 Jan 2014
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