I do not believe that artists can only be so named posthumously or by others. Calling yourself an artist may be an act of vanity or for self promotion and it may equally be true that you are an artist. Why would anyone rely upon someone else to define what they are? How is it more appropriate that an individual be labeled an artist by a third party and not by themselves?
This bizarre abrogation of stating what it is you do is utter bullshit.
I can understand and appreciate that once you modify the word (as in fine artist) you invite judgment. It has also been proposed that individuals should be modest and refer to themselves as painters, sculptors, and so on. How is this modest or more apporpeate? What about those who do all these things? What if they donít wish to be confused with the act (do you paint houses?) and prefer to be known for the intent?
I am the height of arrogance.
I am an artist, not a fine artist or a great artist, but an artist none the less. It doesnít appear on my business card and I donít introduce myself as such, but I am an artist. As a matter of fact, I suspect I am the best judge of whether Iím an artist or not. Others would be a better judge as to the quality of my art, but I find it stupid to call myself a photographer when the photograph is the vehicle for the product not the product.
I don't see where Mr. Bebbington was out of line in the least. Your passive attack on him looks very much like the snobbish stereotype you have placed upon others.
Originally Posted by jerry lebens
You're quite right. But as a professional who tries to do an honest job, he did get my goat.
Originally Posted by billschwab
It kind of looks to me like as photographers we like, or tolerate each other as we struggle to make better and better photographs. But once we commit the ultimate disgrace of attempting to sell our work then we are fair game.
Marketing is how any product is placed before the public. Do you think that McDonalds is really giving you a break today. Do you really think Avis tries harder. Do you really think that United Airlines employees are more friendly.
To be financial successful at anything you have to set yourself apart from your competition. Sometimes that means creating a mystique, by adding hoity toity names, or never bathing, or always wearing black, or walking around in grunge wear like Ansel, or having really long hair, or anything that makes the public think you're different or special.
The quality of the work is often secondary. Lets face it McDonalds burgers are garbage.
I couldn't think of anything witty to say so I left this blank.
Not too clear what point you're making here, Jerry, but as you are a professional photographer, let me ask you just one question: How do you sell yourself to potential customers? What quality do you suggest to them that you have which would make them come to you and spends hundreds if not thousands of pounds instead of taking the pictures themselves on a digital point and shoot? I would be astonished if, whether overtly or by implication, you did not suggest to them that you are more imaginative and creative (and also more highly skilled) and thus able to produce better pictures!
Originally Posted by jerry lebens
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Hi Mr Callow,
Originally Posted by mrcallow
I like your formulation, although I have a feeling that the plain 'artist' may sound a little less loaded in a US context than it does in the UK - I'm not sure.
I think most of the british artists I've met do tend to say something along the lines of "I'm a painter" smile, look down, "not a house painter", or "I'm a writer" and leave someone else to chip in with the "yes, darling, and you've just been listed for the Booker Prize", anything rather than say "I'm an 'artist' ". It's just too pushy.
Yes, it's very self effacing, very english. My last outburst notwithstanding, I'd honestly rather starve and be thought of as a "nice, polite, person" rather than a pushy, ill mannered, artist. And I suspect that a lot of people on this side of the Atlantic would act the same - regardless of talent.
If you can say it without putting people off - good for you.
MacDonald's has teams of liars whose job it is to invent and write supportive text for their promotional garbage. The poor bloke at this show borrowed an ill conceived phrase and may not have had the foresight to think of how to support it.
Meanwhile, it is the same old story:
Q: How many artists does it take to screw a light bulb into a socket?
A: One, but it requires the rest of the art community to discuss how derivative the effort was, that the only reason s/he got the job was politics or who s/he knows/slept with married, etc..
In the first instance -- being English or living on the continent of Europe - you feign modesty. It is not truth that keeps the 'painter' or 'writer' from saying "I try to tell a larger truth or uncover hidden meanings or reveal something important about me/you/society, try to create simple beauty or I try to communicate something of significance via the pictures I paint or the words I write. In other words I'm an artist." It is some absurd convention that some have agreed upon.
Originally Posted by jerry lebens
In the second instance, no one finds it easy to call themselves an artist in most any social situation. This does not mean that they are not artists or creative if they should say they are.
I am simply saying that a person can call themselves an artist (book keeper, floor sweeper, footballer, etc....) if they can justify the statement. To say that they cannot is BS.
Last edited by mrcallow; 06-17-2006 at 10:18 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Reason: rude comments on my part -- sorry
That's why the Brits are so self-effacing and self-conscious about calling themselves artists, writers, poets, photographers, creative types etc.
Originally Posted by Ed Sukach
It's not because they're self-effacing and humble at all but because they were taught from an early age to think that if they pretend to be then that's the only way to be ultimately really really good and to be taken seriously. Instead, any sort of 'artistic' activity more likely simply becomes something to be vaguely embarrassed about. Those who don't confirm to this norm easily and quickly overcompensate and become labelled as arrogant time-wasters (if they're hugely successful, like Tracey Emin, they are labelled vastly overpaid and all the other nasty things that we can think up aswell).
I think we're appalling in this country (U.K.) in our attitude to creative people. In general we don't value it and we don't subsidise it. We vastly overpay a few well-known artists and writers and then we ignore everyone else. And if we - heaven forbid - do anything of it ourselves we spend half the time apologising for it.
In fact I don't think we have even now grown away from the historical roots where artistic (including photographic) and literary activities were seen as the leisure pursuits of the well-off. That coupled with the snobbery associated with the 'art world' makes it inaccessible to many. Maybe things were more democratic in the U.S. - historically at least - and that is what makes it easier for people to admit that they are 'artists'.
Most people I've met who pretend at self-effacement have a superiority complex. From a knowledge of British history, I have to wonder if its a national character trait.
I am an artist because I revel in the act of creation. I think all humans are capable of being artists but most are satisfied with killing time (watching sports, etc..). I strive to create a fine print; so, why not declare that I'm an artist who produces/creates fine prints - shorthand is fine art print.
van Huyck Photo
"Progress is only a direction, and it's often the wrong direction"