Monday, February 1

What Kind of Artist Are You?

Today’s Image
Symbolic of Life's Highway
Photo Copyright 2007

As I’ve mentioned in several of my previous blogs, I enjoy reading biographies of well known artists and how they lived and progressed in their careers. Of course, there is no such thing as a “typical” artist anymore than there is a “typical” engineer, farmer, or President.

It’s the differences that make life's highway all the more interesting, don’t you think?

So that brings me to the question posed in the title of today’s blog: What Kind of Artist Are You?

You understand, of course, the blog is purely subjective on my part, so I’m going to go out on a limb here and give you a few types of artists who inhabit the art world. I’m sure there is not universal agreement, and if you don’t agree, then you may leave a comment or have the urge to write your own blog :-).

In absolutely no intended order:

The Pragmatist is the artist who came to the art world via another career path. Their previous work may or may not have had anything to do with art, but somewhere back in time, this person had the instincts that showed promise as an artist. Maybe they took an art class or two in school. Maybe they doodled or drew cartoon images. They may even have worked in the graphic arts or an allied field that let them feel artistic. The point is that the Pragmatist is a realist who wants the security of a paycheck. There’s nothing wrong with that; even the most famous and/or misunderstood artists had to eat. It’s just that the Pragmatist has limits, and for him or her, the true artistic lifestyle may be just beyond those limits.

The Lovely Artist is one who likes pretty artwork and whose world is a pretty place. Pretty artwork includes flowers and landscapes and still lifes that are full of light and pastel colors. Art is supposed to be uplifting. This artist looks for lovely motifs that can and will enhance the interior of a home or art gallery. They may also become the Romantic Artist if their work includes pretty people portrayed as being happy. There is nothing in their artwork that is narrative or prescriptive or objectionable. Life and art are a happy place. Pretty is as pretty does.

The Classical Artist lives in another time and place most of the time, and their artwork portrays this. This artist likes classical artwork that shows life as it was lived back somewhere in time. That time may be a long time ago, such as the Renaissance, or it may be as current as a 20th Century artist, O'Keeffe, for example. They may emulate, or is that imitate, someone like Carrivaggio or Courbet or Matisse. They yearn for an artistic life that would allow them to be transported to Café Guerbois, Paris, circa 1876.

The Shocker doesn’t need much explanation. Their artwork and art world has never been in the mainstream no matter in what era they created their art. Of course, as time progressed, what was considered shocking in one era became the norm in another—think Impressionism. But I’m not talking about that. I’m not even talking about Van Gogh, even though some Shockers probably have a lot in common with him if you know what I mean. Shockers want to do what their name implies: shock the viewer. Why? That is the question.

Consider this rhetorical, but what kind of artist are you?


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