Artists and Artistes

An artiste is something you don't want to be, that is, if you consider yourself an artist.

While it sounds akin to archaic words like poetess or authoress, which in years passed denoted a female poet or author, an artiste is a "sort of" artist, a person who is more concerned with looking and sounding and appearing like their interpretation of being an artist than in actually producing a drawing or painting.

It's a sailboat, on the ocean, on a breezy day. It's okay to use every day, easy to understand words, formed into clear sentences, to describe our paintings and our lives. Just Breezin', original oil painting by Steve Henderson.

It's a sailboat, on the ocean, on a breezy day. It's okay to use every day, easy to understand words, formed into clear sentences, to describe our paintings and our lives. Just Breezin', original oil painting by Steve Henderson.

They may or may not wear a beret. They may be flamboyant, or deeply brooding and sensual. When they speak, they're difficult to understand because they either 1) use really big words or 2) use words inappropriate to the context. Like this: "The synergistic energy of the revelatory vibrations of organic sensations in this work encapsulates the broad-based foundational experience of the human condition."

I don't know. It looked like a loosely constructed tree in the middle of a sweeping, brushstroke-filled landscape painting to me.

If you're not careful, a brief conversation with an artiste can leave you feeling bumbling, awkward, foolish, and dumb because you can't understand what they are saying, feel as if you should be able to, and are unable to contribute positively to the conversation.

Don't worry. The problem isn't with you. For whatever reason, some people paint a mask on themselves, presenting an artificial front of what they would like to be but know that they're not. Everyone would be a lot happier if they would simply embrace who and what they are and approach their relationships honestly. But that's not how humans act. Recognize this. Know that you're an intelligent person and that you have something to say about art, and if you're cornered against someone who makes you feel that you don't, then excuse yourself to the cheese and crackers table and get away.



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7 thoughts on “Artists and Artistes

  1. Hey Carolyn
    The concept of artiste is basically what I was referring to on your other post. I stopped myself from writing artiste and scientiste, so I’m glad you brought it up. Yes we need to ditch the black or trendy clothes and the beret pins and beret keychains and do work that is inspiring to us. I’ve seen plenty of people on shows like American Idol claiming that they are stars or artists, while they really are artistes. I have met many people who have taken a couple of workshops, hung their shingle and call themselves artists. Frequently, their work is half way there, and still needs more effort and time to learn and grow.

    To be this person, we need to take shortcuts in the development of skills. We need to take the fast track of showing our work before our visual voice is formed. We would need brag to people how wonderful we are. No we don’t want to be this person. Unfortunately, people who are artistes are frequently unaware that they are this person. The people most likely and most capable of detecting artistes are people with a higher level of skill and awareness. The average person most likely will not know the difference.To have the respect or positive complements from someone who is highly skilled or advanced is a big plus, but the work still needs to be done.

  2. Hey, Kat, I’m an official old fart who makes her living writing practical things for a particular market, along with fiction for a particular market, and I have a uniform of a black turtleneck and black stretch pants because they’re the closest thing to pajamas I can wear to run out to pick up supplies, mail something, or get a bit of exercise. On trips, if I slop coffee on my shirt on the plane, I don’t have to buy a new shirt at the hotel gift shop because on black, it doesn’t show. I don’t dress in black to be pretentious. I wear it because it’s practical–and I don’t feel out of place walking in Manhattan (winks)

  3. I wore black before black was cool and painted back when we called ourselves painters. Guess being a geezer has it’s privileges and one of them is that I get to call the person you described as an “artiste” a “fauxrtiste”…. I’m sorry …. I shouldn’t have said that, huh?

    Nope, I’m not serious here because it’s way too hard to be dogmatic when I think of the joy I get painting and drawing. The next time someone says something way over my head I plan to reply with one of my favorite Leonardo quotes, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” And I plan to keep on calling myself a painter except, of course, when I’m a jeweler, sculptor, oh, hey, guess I’m an artist! Wahoo!