Or the second half of this question, what makes an artist?


Now this is a weighted subject filled with a lot of different ideas about what an artist is and isn’t and what does or doesn’t make art.  I’d love to hear from other artists about what does or doesn’t constitute as art.  But first I’ll share my own opinions on the subject.


I don’t refer to myself as an artist.  I am a cartoonist, animator, illustrator, but I do not consider myself an “artist”.  That’s not to say that I don’t believe those things aren’t art.  I do believe that cartoons and illustrations are their own art form.  “Artist” is a weighted term that I would rather not burden myself with.  When a society pictures an artist, we picture a person sitting at an easel working with their acrylics or oils painting elaborately beautiful images that any person would love to have in their home.  When we speak of artists, we either picture someone like Caravaggio, Michelangelo, DiVinci, or we picture someone like Pollack or Picasso.  There is an established idea of what an artist is.  I don’t agree with that established image of an “artist” but it’s there.


What I believe constitutes an artist is someone who is consciously using their preferred medium (whether it be music, writing, painting, etc.) to evoke some sort of emotional response from an audience.  This can either be done though composition, characters, lighting (if it’s a drawing), pitch, lyrics, tempo (if it’s music), or dialogue, setting, etc. (if it’s writing).  Why don’t I consider myself an artist?  Because I don’t aim to do that.  If I do so, I count it as a fluke.  I only aim to please myself with what I make.  I don’t create anything specifically for an audience.  I suppose if people like what I draw/make it’s a bonus.  I prefer to work on my own projects for myself.  If on a particular day I feel like drawing some realistic Pokemon, then I’ll draw a realistic pokemon.  If I want to draw an animal portrait, I’ll draw a portrait.  If I want to draw a gift for another artist, I’ll do that as well.  And if I want to draw something where I pour my own emotions into it, I’ll do that as well.  I suppose I don’t consider myself an artist because I’m very selfish about my art.  I work for myself, by myself.


I prefer labels of “cartoonist”, “animator”, and “illustrator” over “artist” because those other labels are specifics that tell what it is that I do.  I draw cartoons.  I can animate (though I’m still learning on that front).  And I illustrate.  “Artist” is a very generic term that encompasses all, but every person has their own definition of what an artist is.  Illustrators may be artists to most, but cartoonists aren’t naturally thought of as “artists”.


As for what it is that I consider art, it’s a rare day if you can get me to call something not art.  I don’t want to tell someone what is and isn’t art.  However of course there are things that I consider art and things that I don’t consider art.  99% of the time, I don’t consider simple drawings like stick figures art.  I’ve found a few examples of amazing stick figure work (if you’ve ever seen Animator vs. Animation then you know exactly what I mean by amazing stick figure work).  Snapshots of a person in front of their mirrors (AKA “Myspace” or “Facebook” shots) aren’t art.  It doesn’t matter if you messed with it in photoshop and turned it black and white.  It isn’t art.  There’s a beautiful art to capturing artistic photos (whether they be portrait shots, landscape portraits, or more).


In all honesty, it would be much easier and wiser to show you what I believe is art rather than explain it all through words:


I’ll go through a few different works to show different styles, techniques, even mediums that I consider art.  So first up is a digital painting.  I believe that not a lot of people would consider digital art as a viable form of artwork but I’m out to show that it is.  It does take real skills to paint a picture on a computer as it does to paint a picture by hand.


by Cryslara

Here’s a beautiful painting by an artist on deviantart (where I’ll probably be getting most of these pictures) named Cryslara entitled “Forgiveness”.  A lot of misconceptions around digital art is that the computer does all the work for you.  That the “artist” doesn’t put in any effort.  Photoshop, Open Canvas, Painter, or whatever other program an artist may use does all the “real” work in painting a picture.  I don’t know about anyone else, but I don’t believe that there’s any computer program on earth capable of painting this level of beauty on it’s own.  You can tell that there’s a personal human touch here.  The colors, lighting, movement of the cloth, plants, hair, wings, etc…these all invoke this emotion of wonder and awe in me.


On the complete flip side of things is the image below.  A comical, cartoony piece by Vaporotem portraying some pokemon (Cyndaquil, Kirlia, Gochimiru, Meowth, and Baffuron) portrayed as the main characters from another anime series called Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt (Baffuron as Garterbelt, Cyndaquil as Chuck, Kirlia as Panty, and Gochimiru as Stocking; I don’t advise watching the series unless you can stomach crude humor).  This image is funny, cute, and silly.  Even more so if you understand the references of both series.  It’s also very fun stylistically.  The colors and shapes are very appealing to look at.  It also might be a little disturbing and weird which on it’s own is another sort of emotion to evoke from people.  Art doesn’t always have to beautiful (as this picture isn’t so much beautiful as it is silly and odd).


Now I’ve posted two version of drawings that I view as artistic.  I left out traditional art as this is the default for what is seen as “artistic”.  But I’ve got a few more versions of artistic images that I’ve got to show that shows what I think art is.  These are non-drawings and non-sculptures (I also left sculpture out as this is another default for what “art” really is).



by Vaporotem

by LatinVixenThis sweet little lady is named Valerie.  She’s a personal character (though the artist sold this suit now I believe) by the artist who goes by the name “LatinVixen”.


I honestly love this costume for it’s cute factor and it’s craftsman ship.  Especially the mask.  The eyes are absolutely beautiful.  I love that they “follow” you but not in the typical creepy way that I see of most costumes.  The airbrushing of the spots and blending of the markings (both on the face and the body).  Like it or hate it, you can’t deny the level of craftsmanship and talent needed to create a costume like this.



This last one I can’t find a way to insert the image of this last one but it’s a photograph I find absolutely fitting to add into what I think what art is:


Mother’s Day by BittyKate/Whisk Kid


I consider this art in two ways.  Firstly, it’s a wonderfully composed photograph that perfectly shows off this beautiful and delicious cupcake.  The focus is exactly where you want it.  She wasn’t afraid to place the cupcake off center.  In fact, the fact that the cupcake is off center is what makes this a beautiful photograph.  Secondly, the cupcake itself is art.  You wouldn’t think of food as art would you?  But it can be.  If I wasn’t so into baking and cooking now I probably would’ve thought it either.  It’s a product of watching so much Food Network I suppose.  The flower in the center of the cake…the color of it works wonderfully against the dark chocolate.  Even the subtle green of the pistachios both on the cake and on the plate makes this beautiful.


So I’d like to start up some sort of conversation on the subject.  What is it that you all consider art?  What do you consider an artist to be?