Here’s Why You’re An Artist, Even When You Don’t Feel Like It

Last month, I shared about how we can be creative without being an artist, and I firmly stand by that. But I also think everyone has the capability to be an artist, even if they don’t feel like it or realize it. I’m talking from personal experience here, you guys. I can’t draw for shit. I’ve already shared the story in the creativity post about the time I painted rocks in a watercolor class and the instructor told me they look “phallic.” I’m pretty sure my one-time ceramic instructor had never seen someone fail so horribly at throwing some clay on a wheel. I suck at these traditional forms of art. And yet, I have still discovered later that I’m an artist.

Think beyond traditional art forms

I tried and failed at three different art forms and called it good. But how many countless forms of art are there in the world? The seven classic art forms have been classified as painting, architecture, sculpture, literature, music, performing and cinema. But whatever form of art we see, its main characteristic is that it is pleasing to the senses. Floral arranging is an art. Photography is an art. Creating collages and mood boards is an art. Just because you don’t create one of the “traditional” mainstream art forms doesn’t mean you’re not an artist. My best friend is an incredible embroidery and natural dyeing artist. You won’t see those art forms framed in the Louvre, but they are beautiful pieces of art nonetheless. 

You’re an aesthete

An aesthete is someone who has a special appreciation toward the beauties of art or nature. An aesthete is also someone who affects great love of art, music, poetry, etc. Oscar Wilde was part of the aestheticism movement during the late 19th century. He argued that art from this particular movement focused more on being beautiful rather than having a deeper meaning—”art for art’s sake.”

“It is through art, and only art, that we can realize our perfection.” – Oscar Wilde

If you’re an aesthete, you truly see the world through a different lens. To take time out of ones’ day to simply observe and immerse themselves in their surroundings, this is a fantastic and undervalued way to increase our appreciation of the art and beauty that surrounds us. An aesthete is someone deeply engaged with painting and sculpture (or any form of artistic expression) who see the world in terms usually associated with viewing art, giving special value to the visual world for its own sake; and who brings this way of thinking to experience outside of art. Aesthetes divide their world, making a distinction between everyday practical ways of seeing and those privileged moments associated with aesthetic experience. In this way, you are an artist. 

Creative expression brings you joy

Maybe your form of art is doing crafts with your kids. Or thrift shopping. Like I said earlier, my form of art is buying a few bunches of grocery store flowers and turning them into pretty arrangements. No one is going to buy them, they’re just for me. My therapist asked me once, “If you could spend your days doing anything (minus taking care of your children) and no one would see it, what would you do that would bring you the most joy?” My answers were reading, playing the piano and flower arranging. Even if no one ever saw the end results of these things, they would still fill my cup to the brim. That’s art. You might feel jealous when you see an incredibly talented artist sharing their latest work. But skill level isn’t what makes you an artist. As long as you put your whole heart, soul and passion into your work, there’s no doubt that it’s art.

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Author: Samantha Welker

Samantha Welker is the business manager at Glitter Guide. She has an Master's in Corporate Finance & Sustainability from Harvard Business School but prefers working in the creative industry. She also hosts a weekly business podcast for creative women called Pretty Okay Podcast. She loves spending time with her husband and her son, Rocky, in sunny San Diego. Follow along on Instagram