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Maker or artist?

August 4, 2010
I was at the Jerwood talk last night with Dawn Youll and Davis Gates- very interesting discussion. One of the questions asked was -“What do you consider yourself- a craftsperson or an artist?”. Really these are just handy “labels” and neither is accurate and actually both practitioners saw themselves as “makers”. Maker is something I can readily identify with- it is the direct engagement with material- wether that is silver, found objects, text or paper and ink- it is thinking through making. Craft has overtones of conservatism, austerity and perhaps the “sandals and knitted jumper” brigade- not me in the slightest. Artist as a title too is loaded with association – a very romantic notion and within certain parameters – such as sculpture and painting, and is,  perhaps, a bit pretentious.
I am a Maker, but I use the title Artist- why? Maker is not a title which people can identify easily, it is not a strong identity which society recognizes. Artist on the other hand is easily recognized and perhaps covers my alternative approach in my work, which is more expressive than functional. And yet the work is very much “from the hand” rather than “from the head” [which seems to be a symptom of much contemporary art.
So to myself I am a maker, to the wider world- for the convenience of labeling- I am an artist.
At the end of the day I make stuff- hopefully interesting, engaging and stimulating stuff- and that is my primary concern. Labeling is for others and for that is artificial.
One Comment leave one →
  1. December 20, 2010 2:53 pm

    I like this point of view from the 2 categories maker and artist. It is is also interesting to notify that response could be different from context.

    Although, we have to be carefull, cause i think the 2 words does’t have the same correspondance

    maker/ none maker
    craft person/ artist
    thinking with matters, founction, technics, ideas/thinking with concepts with matters or without matters

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