Demystifying The Artist :: A Community Project

What follows is the blog post for the Demystifying The Artist community project, which was originally shared on my personal site in April 2016. The project has since ended, but you can download the ebook of the project by clicking the button below.

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The word 'artist' has many connotations – most of them unhelpful to the scores of people who are driven to create and make art every day. Artists (and their lifestyles) are shrouded in mystery and thought of as 'cool', 'different', or 'elite'. As if artists belonged to some special club that mere mortals are not allowed to join. Then on the flip side of that we have the 'starving artist' myth, concerns about 'selling out', and the idea that being an artist is 'not a real job'.

There is even a perceived distinction between being an artist, and being a 'Real Artist'. Even successful artists worry about whether what they are creating is 'Real Art'. And nearly all of us feel guilty for expecting to make money from something that is so subjective (and fun).

You wouldn't see a plumber, when asked what they do, bow their head and shuffle their feet and say, “Oh, I'm a plumber. But I'm not, you know, a Real Plumber.” Same for an accountant, or an architect, or a teacher. But you see artists doing it all the time.

All in all, it's an extremely loaded word.

But the simple truth is this: if you make art, then you are an artist. That's all there is to it.

I want to diffuse this word, for all of us who are creators and makers and artists. I want to let people peek behind the curtain and see what other artists think and feel and struggle with around claiming themselves as 'Artists', so they can see that we're all in this together. So I've teamed up with 30 other working artists to do just that!

Every day in May, one artist will share a short written, video, or audio piece answering the question “What does being An Artist mean to you?" - they'll be talking about the challenges they've faced such as impostor syndrome, being misunderstood by their families, resistance, valuing their work etc. Or they might focus on the positive such as the feeling of freedom they have, or the day they introduced themselves as an artist for the first time. Or they might share their own interpretation of the word 'artist'.


There are several ways you can join in with this discussion and see what real working artists have to say about their own struggles and triumphs surrounding the word 'artist'.

  • The best thing for you to do is click the button below and pop your email address in the form - that way you'll get each artist's essay delivered to your inbox every day in MayYou can join in at any time and at the end of the month you'll receive a beautiful ebook containing all 31 essays. NB: Just click the button below to download the ebook - no sign up required.

  • You can come and join us in our Facebook group, where we'll be discussing the topics raised by that day's artist, as well as sharing our own stories and meeting lots of awesome like-minded people. NB: The Facebook group is now closed.

  • If you feel like sharing pictures - paintings, drawings, photographs, collages, etc - related to your journey of claiming the title of 'artist' for yourself, you can come and join us on Instagram using the hashtag #DTArtist2016

  • You can also add your name and blog to the blogroll at the bottom of this post - a great way to connect with new friends and find awesome new blogs to follow.


Apart from me, obviously, you'll be hearing from a wide range of artists from all sorts of disciplines from painting to music to jewellery making. They include: Claire Brewster | Caspar Riis | Court McCracken | Melissa Washburn | Clare Spencer | Del Hansen | Raine Boyd | Lisa Risbec | Lucy Pearce | Kel Simkins | Cat Athena Louise | Melissa Dinwiddie | August Wren | Lisa McLoughlin | Desiree East | Koosje KoeneStephanie Serrano | Ursula Markgraf | Nicole Bridges | Galia Alena | Nikki Nienhuis | Melissa Partridge | Laurie Nelson | Sonya | Corinne Phillips | Petra Monaco | Tara Leaver | Cristina Colli

I think this is going to be such an adventure. I can't wait to get started!

The blogroll is now closed.