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Sunday, February 19, 2023

Artist: Visionary, Crafter, Performer, or Director?

Do you fit the profile of an artist? What even is that anyway?

Typically, when we don’t know any better, we form narrow and closed views about what makes someone an artistic person meant to become a great artist. We might go to the concept, often portrayed in fiction, of the extremely artsy person that is impulsive, uninhibited, emotional, and so forth, but that is only one way to get to art.

I’ve come across people concerned that they were never going to get far with art because they didn’t have these traits, that they were never going to be artsy enough because they were more logical or calculated or restrained. At one point, I was concerned, too. However, art can be tackled through different approaches and still turn out outstanding. In fact, there must be different approaches to it or much would never be done. Whether these traits are possessed or not is not completely indicative of the quality of the art.

The way I view it, there are 4 main categories in which you can fall to as an artist (or person involved in the arts): Visionary, crafter, performer, and director. You can be in one or more of these to different degrees, with more aptitude for some than others or in some kind of balance. You may be able to be more than one (though still choose a focus or switch between them) or be so clearly into only one that delegating the rest isn’t even a question.

Imaginative and transcendent. Often revolutionary. This is where novel ideas are born. It isn’t about following trends, but about foreseeing them or setting them. Visionary folks might be ahead of their time, their notions overlooked if not downright rejected or even mocked by their short-sighted peers. But they have a knack for spotting potential and figuring what things could become beforehand, before much or any proof is available. If they have faith and get their timing right, they can make a difference.

Dedicated and resourceful. Often meticulous. This is where skilled works are shaped. With time, effort, and attention to detail, possibly immersed in the pursuit of perfection (or at least something close to it). Crafters are in their own bubble during the process, pleased to tune out from everything else while they are at it. The result matters, but also how they get there. Whatever medium they use and whether they are more industrious than sentimental about it, what they produce becomes their signature. Hence, they strive to meet high standards.

Engaging and impressive. Often charismatic. This is where splendid proficiencies are shown. There is more than meets the eye, however. They can make the difficult seem easy for how graceful they are at it. Unknown to most what amount of preparation went into it, how many times they got it wrong until they got it right, and how much practice it took to not only get it right, but be unlikely to get it wrong. It may be talent but chances are an admirable level of discipline is behind it too. 

Communicative and decisive. Often strategic. This is where complementary contributions are assembled. The director is there to guide and correct, encouraging and pushing people toward accomplishing the common goal, which is to make something bigger than its parts. They have the overview and at least a bit from everyone else’s point of view. Strict yet accommodating, and something of an outsider, they leave the spotlight to others but their role in making everything come together is essential for the extraordinary.