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Am I an Artist?

Am I an Artist? | a blog post from My Favourite Lens

Agent nouns.

-or -er -ist

What makes a person able to use one to describe themselves?

Actually putting the verb into action, I guess. If I’m driving you home from the pub, I’m the driver. If I’m teaching you some grammar, like I am now, I’m the teacher.

However, even bearing in mind that I have a photography website that I take photographs for, if someone were to ask me if I’m a photographer I’d be hesitant to say that I am.

There’s a subtle difference in those cases, but it’s a clear distinction for me.

I used to have a car, but just because I was the driver at a given point doesn’t mean I am a driver.

So, am I a photographer?

I don’t consider myself to be, no. It’s not my job. It’s not my occupation. It’s not my profession, and I doubt it ever will be. I’d rather be a photography blogger than a photographer anyway.

So, back to the titular question.

monochrome vw beetle headlight

Am I an artist?

If we stick to the rules I was outlining above then, no, I’m not. It’s not my job, and it never will be. The thing is though, those rules aren’t hard and fast. They’re not actually even rules. It’s just something I wrote and you read.

So, am I in any way an artist? And why am I even asking the question?

I’ve had some pictures sell on Alamy, and Picfair, two stock photography sites., which was quite a buzz.

However, those pictures though were for editorial use in magazines or brochures or websites. I don’t know for sure. But they certainly weren’t sold under the label of art.

You might recognise that photo of the Beetle at the top of the page from my Circles gallery.

It doesn’t matter if you don’t – it actually means you’ll be able to go and discover that gallery for the first time, which is a great thing. But why is it up there? Am I about to claim that it’s legitimately… art?

artsocket logoI think it is, yes. And I have good reason to.

That picture of the Beetle was recently accepted by Artsocket, an online art gallery and poster store that is quite particular about what they curate and feature.

Their concept is quite simple, yet ensures the quality of the work available to buy as prints, and of the visual experience of the website itself, is always maintained.

Designed as an online gallery instead of just a jumble of mismatched images available to buy, the collection is fluid and constantly evolving as work is archived and brought back at a later date.

Each piece is given an initial run of 30 days on the site – and at the time of writing, my image has around a week of that remaining. I’ve been told that it will be given another thirty, although after that, who knows?

This means that, depending on when you click through to the site, it might not be available at that time.

The prints are also only available in limited runs. No more than 500 will ever be sold, and each one is numbered and supplied with the artist’s signature too.

dmitri tcherbadjiThe site itself is the baby of a nice Canadian fellow who goes by the name Dmitri Tcherbadji.

Obviously over the course of submitting my work and having it accepted, we’ve communicated and he’s a genuinely nice bloke.

Forgetting for a second (but no longer than that!) my work being available, I truly wish him all the best with his project.

So back again to the question – am I an artist? Do I consider myself to be one?

I honestly want to say that, yes, I do.

It’s not my job and it never will be, but there are no rules, remember.

However, I believe I’ve been given validation through my work being accepted by such a website as Artsocket, a site that puts so much weight on the artistic merit of each of their available images, and I can now say, quietly, to myself, that I am an artist.

The obvious next goal is to become an artist who has actually sold a piece.

Update: Artsocket is unfortunately no longer being maintained. However, Dmitri has a new project!

Analog Cafe is a film photography magazine website that you can submit your work to. Go check it out.

And if you still want to buy a print of The Beetle, you can do so here.  🙂

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