Because I can't draw, I have never considered myself an artist. Now before you start charging me a quarter for being negative, just hear me out.
As a six-year-old budding artist, I loved to draw and one day I drew a very rudimentary self-portrait, complete with oval body and nipples. (I had advanced from strictly stick figures, you see.) Being quite pleased with myself, I showed it to my mom and my mom, being slightly appalled by it, struggled with her words. They came out as "Well, I've seen better." What I heard was, "you're not good enough." My little six-year-old artistic soul was crushed. Then came elementary school art class. Even though I was deliriously happy playing with finger paints, crayons, paper, scissors and library paste (which I surreptitiously licked off my fingers), my projects were "graded." I never quite measured up to my teacher's standards. My grades reflected the fact that I wasn't "good enough." By high school my six-year-old artistic soul was quashed for good.
I did not, however, give up buying art supplies. I have crayons, watercolors, acrylics, oil pastels, watercolor crayons, oil sticks, brushes, inks, dyes, papers, etc., etc., etc. My mother taught me to sew and embellish fabric with buttons and beads and to be creative with textiles. As a result I have a fabulous collection of fabric, fibers, buttons and beads.
About 10 years ago I discovered collage and altered arts and I've been creating and using everything I've learned over the years and so grateful I have my collections of "stuff." My six-year-old artistic soul came alive.
AND THEN IT HAPPENED.
I read a comment online made by an artist who was incensed that anyone who did not have a fine arts degree and had committed themselves to years of study would dare call themselves artists.
Now, you're probably thinking, "Uh-oh, she's retreated back to her devastated six-year-old artistic soul." Wrong. This time I was just angry so I said, "Shame. On. You."
I don't know what Webster's says, but my definition of art is a creative expression coming from our very heart and souls. It can be dark, light, happy, sad, vulnerable, realistic, abstract, impressionistic, satirical and the list goes on and on.
The point being there are as many different ways of expressing art as there are artists. Your techniques may be different than mine, but that doesn't make mine any less artistic.
Not once has it occurred to me to ask
an artist if they had a
fine arts degree before determining whether
their art spoke to me.
I listen only with my heart.