As The Batignolles Group used to meet at the Cafe Guerbois to discuss art, politics, and life, I have the pleasure of having impromptu discussions with my resident artist and musician son. A gem we managed to polish was the definition of an artist.
The discussion began with politics as is typically the case. We moved on to discuss that innate need the artist has to be artistic and expressive to be fulfilled. This discussion is what led me to further polish my concept of what an artist is.
The way I see it, an artist is made up of two key parts.
First of all, he is a master craftsman. It is someone who has invested many hours, funds, and effort to learn, practice and master a craft. As a master craftsman he is an expert in a language. This can be the language of writing, painting, music, dancing or a number of languages that require discipline in order to achieve oneness with the language. It becomes second nature to the master.
The second part is to be an innovator. This is someone who produces creative thought. An inventor, someone who sees beyond what is today. He sees through a different lens and typically questions methods and processes. He is something of a big picture, far-sighted individual that can cut down to minuscule components at the blink of an eye.
So what is an artist?
An artist is one who has the ability to perceive new thought and emotion, and expresses it through a sensorial language that interprets to the rest of the world something that had not been seen, felt, heard or thought of before. An artist is a receptor and a transmitter, and as such, must do what is in his nature in order to find fulfillment and happiness.
What can we do as a society?
Support the arts, the individuals that expand and enrich our understanding of thought and the senses. It is through art that we re-humanize our understanding and live a more complete life.
My writings are defined by the old gender terminology of man to encompass both males and females unless I am specifically referring to a male or female individual.