I am completely uncomfortable with the word "artist" and the way it gets used, particularly when it is self-applied.
I believe in two extreme definitions of art. One being; art is anything people (and I use the term broadly) do that is not directly applicable to survival (eat, drink, sleep, poop, defend territory, squirt out offspring, or doing things to get those things etc...) I believe this strongly, anyway that anyone expresses themselves anywhere: art.
To put a slightly finer point on it, it's any discipline you work at exactly like powerpoint presentations, organizing sweet 16 parties, dressing yourself, building skyscrapers, finding the most efficient/fun way to gather trash and return the cans to the sidewalk ...you get my point. Art is a craft and everyone with a camera on their phone is an artist. EV ER Y ONE.
I also believe that art is an event that occurs when someone says "holy shit! Wow!" You can paint 7000 paintings a year and never achieve that. It is something amazing to witness/experience and the person whose painting evoked that event (for instance) is only responsible for a portion of it. An entire life's worth of collected experiences "the artist" had nothing to do with allowed for that response. It is possible that the viewer's relationship with the cashier at the convenience store a block from their house gets the lion's share of the way that "holy shit" moment unfolded. The viewer is in the driver's seat, here. Even though the "artist" made the thing, the viewer is the deciding factor, regardless of training or "palette" or celebrity affiliations.
The activity does not make art. Using oil paint does not make you an artist. You are an interior designer for a particular section of wall unless someone looks at your work and freaks out a little bit. You are a decorator. That is just as worthy a profession as baking bagels and and being a telephone operator and volunteering in the peace corps.
There must be something in the psychological makeup of leftist crafty people that we need special attention for how we spend our time. (Speaking of... loud-obnoxious-actress-bitches-in-the-cafe, the world is NOT a stage, SHUT UP!) It is that attitude that justifies society's view of "creative-types" as self-indulgent pills.
No one is an artist. Art happens every once in a while and if you played a role in its birth, bully for you. Otherwise sit there and hone your craft and don't expect any jaws to drop that you are doing so.
Your life's journey is exactly as impressive as everyone else's.
Coming soon: The Artists' Lifestyle and Other Modern Day Myths