- You are genuine.
I have a “friend” back home that to the naked eye you would think her artistic. Why? Because she always has to be different. She always has to disagree with you. And she has invented crazy eccentricisms for herself. If you said you loved JCrew clothes she would make fun of you for liking something so main stream and boring. If you said you hated JCrew clothes she would say that you didn’t have an eye for minimalistic beauty. If you hated eating chicken livers she would say that you were short sided and not sophisticated. If you loved chicken livers she would say that you were a hill billy redneck with no class. If you said you loved long hair she would say that you were old fashioned and not modern. If you said you loved short hair she would say that you did not know anything about classic style or what is aesthetically pleasing to the eye. She just wanted to be different not genuine.
Here’s the moral of that short story: just be yourself. If you like the simple Breakfast-at-Tiffany’s-style black dress with no muss no fuss then great. If everyone in your group of friends loves action movies and you do too then great. If you are totally captivated by the latest trend, then wear it. If you love brooches but they seem out of date, who cares…rock those brooches babe!
- You have passion.
This one probably should have been first. Passion is key. Take my mom for instance. She has said my whole life, as long as I can remember, that my dad was the artist and she was not. I have to respectfully disagree, sweet mother. She had a passion for loving my dad and for loving her children. Because her heart was dedicated to being the best wife and mom, she was artistic every day because of her passion to throw her whole heart into every activity for and with her family.
I have seen CPAs that are artistic because they have a thirst for checks and balances. The ones that did their job to the best of their ability were artistic. My husband is artistic when he creates a power point slide show for his first year law students. He takes sweet time to make sure every detail is pristine. The table cleaner at Cheddar’s in Pensacola, FL is artistic because he cleans to the best of his ability putting on a little show for the guests every chance he gets. The school teacher who pours out their time into the struggling students with after school tutoring and encouraging notes is artistic. The photographer who doesn’t care if he looks like an idiot laying on his belly to take a photo of his kids is artistic. You get my point. You don’t have to have your dream job to be an artist. You don’t even have to be in an artistic field at all. Passion sets apart those who live to work and those who put life into their work.
- You are not in it to get rich.
My dad said on many occasions that if he had a passion for farming potatoes that is what he would do and his kids would have the best french fries in town. He was a goldsmith because he loved it not because he wanted to get rich. You’ve heard of starving artists for a reason. If you freaking love what you do and nothing can draw you away from your art – no matter what art form it is – You don’t care what house you live in or what car you drive as long as you have your “art love” in your life every day.
- You are not afraid of imitation.
Whew that’s a hard one for most people. “A candle doesn’t lose its flame by igniting another.” Some of the greatest artists in history were apprentices or students of someone else. A true artist wants to teach and wants to show their craft. If their skill is copied or their design is mimicked, it is an honor. If anyone were to try and copy someone else’s passionately formed art, it is going to look different because every person’s passion is portrayed differently. Share what you know. Would you rather keep in your creation for fear of imitation and never touch anyone with your art, ever? The worst that can happen is that you are copied, that person becomes famous or rich but they will always remember where they got their idea, their design. You have touched a life, imprinted on someone, the world may not know your name but you know. And for an artist that is enough.
- You know how to truly appreciate.
I know that it is an unspoken law about art that it must be different or odd and must be new. I have to disagree. Beauty can be found in the old, the new, the classic, the abstract, the minimal, the elaborate, the mundane, the day, the night, the blonde, the brunette, the dog, the cat, the runner, the weightlifter, the light skinned, the dark skinned, the normal, the abnormal and so on. Artists know when to just appreciate.
Classic example: Some people hate the chevron pattern because it became so popular and vanilla. Everyone had a chevron dress, chevron pillow, chevron earrings etc. Artists can appreciate the textile design and not belittle it. A true artist knows that there is nothing new under the sun just new ways to project things. Just appreciate. Everyone and everything under the sun has some form of beauty or some way to be appreciated.
So that is what I have. Keep on creating fellow artists, keep on living with passion, keep on sharing your craft, stay humble in your quest and always be the genuine article!