The Power of an Artist

October 9, 2018: This post is an old draft of mine on Medium, written sometime in mid-2013. It has now been moved here, for the record and your groans.

I have recently become interested in what an artist is. I maybe even slightly thought I could be one.

But, how?

So, I looked up the definition of artist: “a person who produces works in any of the arts that are primarily subject to aesthetic criteria” or “a person whose work exhibits exceptional skill”.

The thing is, that doesn’t satisfy me.Because, while I know that we all can be artists, and I know that we all could do work that “exhibits exceptional skill”, true artists are not just about showing off what they’ve done. They’re about much, much more.

We are all contributing in one way. We all have to power to effect other’s lives, and even cause everlasting changes. But, once again, how? How can we do something that alters the very destiny of those around us? Because it’s only when we create something that makes a difference, that we can truly call ourselves an artist.

One of my favorite artists once said:

See life’s a beautiful struggle, I record it

Hope it helps you maneuvering through yours

Whatever our medium is, this is all we can do before we become an artist.

Whether you’re a rapper, a singer, a musician,

Whether you’re a painter, a sculptor, a sketcher,

Whether you’re an author, a journalist, a writer,

Whether you’re a politician, a speaker, a leader,

Whether you’re a programmer, a CEO, a visionary,

Whether you’re a architect, a fashion designer, or a wedding planner,

No matter who you are, or what you do:

You can be an artist.

As soon as your work becomes not about making the money, or making a name for yourself, but about the lives of the people who experience your work everyday, that’s how you know. That’s when you become an artist, and that is when you feel, and can exercise the power of one. They are powerful, I promise. The artists are the ones who will shape and effect the future of this planet. They’re the ones who you should be friends with. Or better yet, become an artist yourself.

Written on August 1, 2013