Are You A Professional?

An interesting thing happened the other day. I was in the local “go-to” art store in the Portland Metro are (Art Media) picking up a few items to finish up my current painting, and to fill some holes in my supplies. When I got to the check stand they asked if I was taking a class (student discount) and I said no, just picking up personal items. The clerk said “Are you a professional artist?” My first response was no, but I hope to be. And he gave me a quizzical look, which had me thinking… hope to be? I corrected myself and said, hey I’ve sold paintings, so yes I am a professional artist.

Isn’t interesting how we (as artists) are so quick to dismiss that we are professional, if we aren’t full-time artist. Or maybe even if we are. We always feel that we need to “qualify” our answers. Not only have I sold paintings, but have been working as a graphic designer for over 25 years. I am an artist, in a myriad of ways. Not only do I paint, I design, I create, I knit, and the list can go on and on.

So from now on I will attempt to not qualify my answers. Yes I am a professional artist. Carry business cards (all of them, for all the various businesses), and present them when need be. I will try not to hide behind the excuse that I don’t paint full time. But I DO create full time. I am an artist.

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