Are You a Painter or an Artist?

Painters examining painting in art studio

Agnieszka Olek / Getty Images

Do you call yourself a painter or an artist? 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.

Make Your Choice

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 a 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?