I had a crisis of faith not so long ago. I still felt that I was an artist, but, oh dear god, blasphemy – I was no longer creating art. A fake! A fraud! A misguided fool! I wasn’t proclaiming this status to the world, but even within the realms of my own mind I felt uneasy merely thinking of myself as an artist.
What criteria do you have to meet to be deemed an artist? A question that bears similarities to that fiendish art-school conundrum – “What is art?” I have lived by the rule that if an artist has said that something is art, then it is so. It is one person’s intention that counts. So why was the definition of artist causing me so much anguish? The guilt around not making art felt unbearable, and the prospect of just stopping, drawing that final line in the sand felt… relieving. The easy way out. I could leave it all behind me, accept that I was no longer an artist and move on with my shiny new teacher identity life. The word ‘artist’ has been so entwined with my idea of who the hell I am, this notion left me feeling… bereft. Irrational, peculiarly narrow thinking, wouldn’t you say?
I stopped obsessing. I let it be. I let it all be. I gave myself time and space… and waited for the blessed Easter holidays! And it all makes sense.
Painting makes me happy, and so I will continue to paint. Some days I will wear my artist hat, and some days my teacher hat. Most days, I hope to have both jauntily perched on my head, although they may be rather precarious…