Creative Block → 022
First, Temi I can’t thank you enough for your vulnerability and the power you have to express your feelings so vividly and eloquently. Second, I also deal with this. I have constant talks with my mentor about what I call myself. “Multidisciplinary creative/artist” is the word I go to, but my mentor has told me, “You can be good at many things, but what are you the best at” and even with his question, I feel like the answer still boxes me from all of what I can do. He’s an EVP with lots of creative experience and he’s said, he thinks he’s a great photographer, but he’s worked beside some of the best photographers. And so he honors their work, their time, and their experience by not calling himself such. It’s tricky thinking. But definitely things I go back and forth about.
Thank you for writing about your own thought process in dealing with this Temi. I think it’s something a lot of us can relate to. I find that it’s a difficult question to answer largely because as society we’re putting people in simplified boxes. We want a definition and an easy answer to “what do you do?” When really there is so much more than what we do for work that defines us. Certainly as artists, we know that to be true but that doesn’t necessarily make it easier to land on the “thing” we feel is right to define ourselves by. For me I usually lead with “artist and writer” and then see if that sparks enough interest in a conversation to go a little deeper. For a long time I wasn’t sure if I was “allowed” to use either but I think the more I say it, the easier it has become. I also think that changing how we define ourselves is part of our lifetime of navigation. What fits today maybe doesn’t fit tomorrow and that’s very much part of the process. And thank you for the links, it’s so nice to discover new artists!
In these occasions I look for the title that is most appropriate for the conversation that’s going to be had. Ultimately I wish people could just write my name and call it a day.
Also, what you are describing here is a very common trait of creative people who have more than 1 interest or practice. I think, if you really had to choose one, you could say artist. It’s a blanket term and it’s vague enough.
I absolutely think you can claim multidisciplinary artist if that's what feels most right right now. I tend to stay fairly fluid with this myself and what I self-define as varies a bit by context. I am primarily a writer but even with that I've been a blogger, content writer, copywriter, reviewer, book author, columnist and some other things at different times. When people ask if I'm a journalist I always say no and then I tell them what I'm working on and for some that means journalist but I don't relate to the world. Sometimes I just say "I write" because I'm emphasizing that I'm a human being, not a human doing. But I also don't "just" write so sometimes I'm a writer/artist or writer/creative and mostly that's in fiber art but sometimes I say multi-disciplinary.
It's a tricky weird thing, defining ourselves, isn't it? But also, it's kind of fun. One of the things that I love most about falling in love with someone ... even if that's a new friendship kind of love ... is that you re-share the same old stories again for a newly captivated audience, and you tell them in a different way than before because you're not in the same place anymore ... you get the chance to re-authorize the narrative of who you are. It's never untrue but sometimes it's more true. I think the way we define ourselves professionally/creatively is like that too.
100% I can fully relate to this. I always love saying I'm simply an artist, through and through. A curious being seeking answers and seeking even more questions through different mediums my artistic self dabbles into. 100% I'm with you, jack of all trades, a creative sensitive human soul.