Designer vs. Artist

I am torn.

Ever since I started this new journey into the visual effects and entertainment industry, I've been haunted by one word: artist. So what's the big deal, you ask? I've spent the past six years trying not to be called an artist, but a designer.

From Dictionary.com:
Artist, artisan are persons having superior skill or ability, or who are capable of producing superior work. An artist is a person engaged in some type of fine art. An artisan is engaged in a craft or applied art.

Again, from Dictionary.com:
Designer is a person who devises or executes designs, esp. one who creates forms, structures, and patterns, as for works of art or machines.

So what's the big deal, you ask again, this time with a voice of irritation at the superfluousness of the second inquiry? I've always had it engrained in my head that I never wanted to be a poor, starving artist. Because artists were poor and often starved. Or they went crazy and cut off their ears before shooting themselves with a revolver. Plus, let's face it, those people are just plain weird sometimes. (Although, don't get me wrong... Banksy does some fine stencil art!)

For me, the traditional creation of art seems to suggest that the artist has some inner personal expression that will torment them until they get the chance to release it in a cacophony of vibrant acrylic paint! Or an explosion of symphonic harmonies! ...or elephant dung. Whatever floats your goat, I guess. Then there is the word craft that is associated with above definition of artist. If I think of the word 'craft,' I often associate it with the chain of Micheal's Craft Stores which are full of supplies that people buy to create things at their own time and leisure, not as a trade. I'm sure there are those that have figured out a nice budgeting system that let's them generate a profit in their own booth at the Quilted Bear, but for the most part it just seems to me that the term 'craft' is not something that is consumed by the populace. It's just seems like in general, the resulting products are something of a luxury/novelty and aren't something that everyone is going to be able to interact with.

I take a look at myself and I don't have some inner personal expression that is dying to get out, but rather an insatiable appetite to entertain. Is it the same thing? I don't really know at this point. Is my desire to entertain my own personal expression? When I am creating something, am I trying to express something inside of myself, or am I trying to decipher how the audience is going to react to it, thus designing their experience? Comedy, for example, takes a lot of quick thinking about timing, content, and conflict. When a comedian thinks up his jokes, he may find them entertaining himself, but his ultimate goal is to get a reaction from the audience. If he fails in his so-called design, he is left on the stage with only the crickets to cheer him on.

So what am I, an artist or a designer? If I were to choose one, I'd pick designer, because I'm not doing what I do for myself, but rather the audience. I want them to react and associate with it and have a memorable experience... plus I'd prefer to be wealthy, well fed, sane, have all my ears intact, and be not dead.

1 comment:

Sally said...

Yes, we prefer you intact, but we would love you anyway. My vote is designer, but I think you could pass for an artist if you wanted - after all the word "artist" can be interpreted many ways, right? ;)