Painter or Artist?

A painter or artist
What do you call yourself, a painter or an artist? Do you have a painting space or studio?. Photo © Ken Wramton / Getty Images

Do you call yourself a painter or an artist? MsWeezey expressed a problem experienced by many, especially people who don't make a full-time living from their art: "I find it hard to say to anyone that I am an artist except to myself in the privacy of my studio and not always then. What is the difference between a painter and an artist anyway? Can every painter be considered an artist, and every artist a painter?"


The problem with calling yourself a painter is that some people will think you mean someone who paints walls. The problem with calling yourself an artist is that some people will think you're being pretentious and some will worry you're a touch mad (believing all artists are like Vincent van Gogh). Whichever term you use you will encounter misunderstanding, so go with whichever you feel most comfortable.

At one time an argument could have been made that an artist was someone who created fine art that didn't involve anything that could be perceived as crafts. (And calling someone's paintings "decorative art" was as serious insult.) These days the term artist is used for all sorts of creative fields, including music and dance, not just fine art. It certainly doesn't mean "someone who creates pictures using paint".

Every painter could consider themselves an artist, and the other way round, but that doesn't make them a good or competent at it. It's just a label, it's your paintings that count ultimately. Or should that be your artwork?