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vince: about "artist" ii

updated thu 28 aug 03


Dupre CTR Marcy M on tue 26 aug 03

I agree with Lili, the honorific "artist" is one that others apply to you,
not you to yourself. If I am introduced at a party as "This is Tig Dupre.
He's an artist," I cringe. The next inevitable question is "Oh, what
gallery are you in?" Then comes the explanation that I am a potter,
aspiring to be considered an artist.

As for the military aspect of Lili's analogy, there are some Class A jerks
in uniform who DO call themselves "heroes." These are usually the guys who
spent the sum of their careers in a supply depot in Georgia, handing out
mosquito netting and bug repellent to troops headed for the Arctic Circle.
I spent 36 years in uniform, loving most of it. I have never called myself
a hero, just as I have never called myself an artist. I just did my job to
the absolute best of my ability, often under trying conditions.

The debate about "What IS an artist?" will continue well into the future.
It's much like trying to put a definition on the slippery word, "love."
What is "art" you may be "un-art" to me. Beauty is in the eye of the
beholder. And what I make that I consider to be beautiful, may be "blah" to
others. And that is what makes the world go around.

As I mentioned in another post, Emile Zola answered the question of what his
purpose in life is with, "I am an artist. I am here to live out loud."
Makes for interesting discussions.

Be well, and make ART!


Norman van der Sluys on wed 27 aug 03

To come to any sort of understanding on this topic (I doubt that
complete agreement is possible - besides what fun would that be?) We
must delve into that prickly issue - what is art?

Much of what has been said in this thread have assumed art to be a class
of objects, an assumption worthy of a craftsman. :>) In other words, a
design applied to canvas or board using paint is a painting and thus
art. This approach leads to problems, however, especially when judging
the quality of a work of art. For example, there is a tendency to think
of good art in terms of novelty - if it has been done before, it isn't
worthy. The "artist" who devises an object that is, superficially at
least, novel and thus unique, becomes elevated to the stratisphere.

There are other ways to define art. One is to link it to expression.
My personal fovorite involves process. It begins with an experience,
which affects the creation of an artifact, which is then percieved with
significance by the audience (for lack of a better term.) If it is a
valid expression, the artifact will have a true uniqueness to it, shaped
by a discrete experience.

Personally, I call my self a potter, and my product is pottery. I
strive for the excellence of craftsmanship, and I can't help putting a
little of my self - my experiences - expressed in terms of clay and
glaze. Is it art? I leave that question open to my audience.

However - I do not wish to be associated with much that masquerades as
art in today's world, be it made of clay, or welded metal or paint and
canvas. Much of what is displayed as ART is superficially novel and
serves nothing but the ego of the perpetrator. Therefore I personally
shun the designation artist.

I make pots. I constantly strive to make better pots. I genuinely feel
that a discriminating soul will get more out of drinking his morning
coffee from one of my mugs than just his morning coffee. I leave it at

Norman van der Sluys
Benona Pottery
Near the shore of Lake Michigan, thinking that perhaps my past life as a
professor of Art History is showing a little too much.