Art Lessons by Larry Weiss

Am I a real artist?

How can I tell if I’m an artist yet? What do I have to do to become a real artist?

My students have asked these questions, and more. In the spirit of “there are no stupid questions”, I will try to answer.

In Ghana, and perhaps other places, they have no word for artist. In that society, it is assumed that everyone is an artist. I agree.


In America, we call anyone who sings on a stage an artist, but we imply that singing in the bathtub, is somehow less. Some think that dancing in a tutu is artistic, but on a dance floor, it falls short.

Everyone agrees that artistic ability and creativity are intimately linked. Nevertheless, people do not necessarily see that everyone is creative.


Here is a list of some creative acts:

  • Writing on the walls just before the new paint job.
  • Dancing in your underwear.
  • Re-arranging stuff on your dresser.
  • Selecting furniture
  • Making yellow circles in the snow
  • Saying something funny.
  • Making up a lie.

    You get the idea. We are all artists.

    Now, if you are asking about being a painter, that’s very different. It’s a skill that you acquire, and never stop acquiring.

    So being a painter is journey, not a destination.


    Edgar Degas said it best.

    Painting is very easy when you don't know how, but very difficult when you do.

    And I say.

    Infuse every part of your life, every move you make, everything you say, with your personal creativity. You owe it to yourself and the rest of us too.

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