At what point do you get to call yourself an artist? What do you need to have achieved in order to earn that title?
It's not an easy question to answer.
Some of my clients think they need to be working as a full-time artist before they can bestow the title on themselves. Until that point, they are teachers, marketing agents, engineers, and doctors.
Other clients are able to call themselves artists early in their careers. Why the big gap?
Over about 3 decades of working with artists, I've observed that artists who went to art school have an easier time assuming the title of artist. Perhaps because there is a piece of paper in their possession—a document that says they have a BFA.
I am not saying that you need to or should go after that piece of paper. But shy of that, there is nobody who will sprinkle magic fairy dust and bestow the title of artist on you. So what do you do?
My guest for this episode of the Art Biz Podcast is James Holmes, who shares the 3 clear criteria he created before he could call himself an artist, the why behind each of them, and the moment in which he was able to mark them off the list and assume the artist mantle.
Music by Wildermiss
- The horseback riding accident that set James on the artist’s path. (3:41)
- Connections in the art world that encouraged James to continue making art. (10:51)
- The day job that doubles as James’s other passion. (12:10)
- When is the right time to start professionalizing your art and call yourself an artist? (14:31)
- James’s initial response to being called an artist. (22:16)
- Three criteria that James created before he would call himself an artist. (26:32)
- How to be true to and satisfied with the work you make, even amidst criticism. (28:25)
- The moment that James’s art was acknowledged by an established artist. (35:20)
- Selling a piece to someone who doesn’t know you beyond your art. (39:10)
- A look at the work that is keeping James busy now. (42:20)
James Holmes Quotes
“I had to figure out what being an artist means. When do I think I’ve achieved that?”
“It was a lesson that was well learned. It turned out to take me to another level of my creativity.”
“That night it all manifested because I believed in the art enough to exhibit it.”
About My GuestJames Holmes is a Denver-based visual artist. As an abstract painter, James shared “I paint from the inside out. I believe painting from the inside out allows me to outwardly communicate my inner life. Everything I internalize, the experiences I have, the people in my life, my hopes, dreams, and faith are all reflected from heart, mind, and soul through the prism of my intuitive lenses resulting in artistic expressions utilizing a variety of media.”
James maintains a studio in Denver’s Golden Triangle arts district and exhibits at the Veterans Arts Council Gallery, Centura Health Healing Gallery, and other venues. James is a Trustee of the Denver Art Museum and Executive Director of the Cherokee Ranch & Castle Foundation.
Find James on Instagram: @jamesholmesstudio
Music by Wildermiss