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When Do You Call Yourself An Artist?

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I was reading one of those art magazines and I came across the letters to the editor page.  There was a mother who by her own admission dabbles with paints, she was explaining that she had received a letter from an organisation addressed to the artist. Her daughter had spent many years earning a degree in fine art and the woman felt that she deserved to be called an artist, where the mum thought that it was inappropriate for herself to be called one.
So …. when do you call yourself an artist ?
When you earn your living from your work ?  Few artists ever do.
When you teach or tutor ?  There is an old adage – those who can’t – teach.
Do you have a day job to support your ‘real’ career ?
When you study and have letters after your name ?
For many years I simply called myself a sculptor and painter, sometimes I had to explain – no, not a house painter….  part of me was nearly embarassed to call myself an artist.  When you do call yourself an artist you will often see a disbelieving look on that person’s face or a look of awe.  I mean really, it’s only a job after all.

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